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The BurmaNet News: May 11, 1998

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: May 11, 1998
Issue #1002


9 May, 1998

Rangoon-Burma's ruling military State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
has appointed three civilians as deputy ministers, officials said yesterday.

Political analysts said the move was an attempt by the military to bring
more civilian expertise into the government.

Set Maung, an economic expert, was appointed a deputy minister in the SPDC
office, while long-time diplomat Khin Maung Win was appointed deputy
minister of foreign affairs. Tin Swe was given the post of deputy minister
of construction, state owned media reported.


10 May, 1998
By Aung Zaw

A brutal relocation programme by the Burmese military junta has forced some
300,000 ethnic Shans from their homes

Since March 1996, the Burmese military troops m Central Shan state have
forcibly relocated 1,400 villages, claimed the Shan Human Rights Foundation
(SHRF) in a recent report, "Dispossessed". The massive forced-relocation
programme occurred in an area where the resistance group, the Shan State
Army (SSA), formerly known as the Shan United Revolutionary Army, has been

According to the rebel sources, Shan leader York Serk had made several
conciliatory gestures to head of the Burmese military regime, Senior Gen
Than Shwe, for ceasefire talks but there had been no response. Given that,
the SSA repeatedly attacked Burmese troops in the area with predictable
reaction from Rangoon.

The military junta sent more troops with the aim of crushing the Shan
rebels. In addition, the army launched its notorious "Four Cuts" operation
-- cutting food, funds, intelligence and recruits.

"To stop civilian support for the resistance, the Burmese military are
moving those in the rural areas to towns or main roads so that they can
control the villagers and stop them from supporting the Shan soldiers,"
said an NGO worker based in northern Thailand.

According to SHRF, the forced relocation programme started m 1996 has
intensified, with new areas being forced to relocate, and existing
relocation sites being forced to move again. In 1996, a total of 600
villages were relocated. By 1998, 1,500 villages have been relocated
resulting in some 300,000 people being forced out of their homes.

"The current campaign is the second stage of the forced relocation.
Moreover, the Burmese military have also become much more brutal than they
were in 1996. Anyone caught outside these relocation sites is shot on
sight," said a SHRF member. In most cases, the villagers have been given
only three days to move with the warning that if they were to return, they
would be shot on sight."

Those suspected of being supporters of the Shan resistance group were
executed, including Shan monks. In Kun Hing area alone over 300 villagers
were reportedly killed. Racial tension was considered high in the area.
Last year about 25 Burmese were killed by Shan troops. That incident had
led to a spate of revenge killings against Shan civilians in the ensuing
weeks, the SHRF reported.

"There had been large-scale killings particularly in the middle of 1997. I
met a woman who survived a massacre -- her husband, sister and her
brother-in-law were killed. She could hear them being killed by machine-gun
fire. She was spared because she had a baby," the NGO worker recently told
Radio Free Asia (RFA). In some cases Shan village women were accused of
"cooking for the Shan soldiers" and were raped, said the SHRF report.

The SHRF said the damage inflicted by the regime's two-year relocation
programme would take generations to repair. Conditions in the relocation
sites are appalling. According to SHRP, following the mass relocation in
Lai Kha last year, countless people are begging in the streets and camping
in temples or under trees by the roadside. In some areas, people died of
illness as they received no proper food and medication.

A villager from Nam Tum village told a SHRF staff. "This year the
situation's a lot of worse. If anyone goes back to their house, they will
be shot by the soldiers immediately. A lot of people have died ... Before I
came [to Thailand], five or six people were killed to the north of our
area. To the west, several groups of two to three were killed. I was very

Since the relocation began, approximately 80,000 Shans have fled into
Thailand. As they have no shelter along the border, the Shans seek jobs in
farms, at constructions sites and Thai-run factories. And given that they
are considered illegal immigrants, they face arrests, deportation and

"They have no means of supporting themselves and they can't go home," said
an NGO worker in Chiang Mai who followed the flight of the Shans to
Thailand for several years. There has been no official acknowledgement of
the huge influx of Shan refugees. According to sources on the border, there
have been more Shans crossing the border into Thailand.

"The junta's relocation programme has led to a huge flood of refugees into
Thailand. These are basically people they have been locked out of their
homes, farmers who have no means in supporting themselves," said a Shan
living in northern Thailand. Unlike the Karens, there are no refugee camps
along the border provided for the Shans.

But recently about 200 Shans were allowed to stay in one Karenni refugee
camp in Mae Hong Song district. Some low ranking and local Thai officials
acknowledged the fact that fighting is going on in Central Shan state. The
SHRF said the social upheaval caused by the forced relocations is also
affecting the rest of Burma. 

Already facing food shortages and social unrest, Burma can ill afford its
scorched-earth policy in the "rice bowl" of the Central Shan state and the
creation of thousands of newly internally displaced people.

If this forced relocation programme is allowed to continue, it will not
only further destabilise Burma, it will also adversely affect Thailand and
Burma's other neighbours.

"The plight of Shan refugees must be heard. We must do something before
it's too late -- and there will be no Shan in central Shan state," said a
prominent Shan leader who requested anonymity.

The SHRF asked Asean, the United Nations and other international bodies to
pressure the junta to stop the forced-relocation programme and the human
rights abuses against the Shans. It also requested the Thai government to
allow Shans access to safe refuge in Thailand and the right to receive
humanitarian assistance. However, many of those in government still deny
that the problem exists.


2 May, 1998
By (Hsaw Wah Deh) Human Rights-Trade Union Rights Section,Federation of
Trade Unions-Burma

[English edited.]

The farmers from Irrawaddy started disputing with the SLORC for dry season
quota rice.  This year, dry season rice production will definitely be low
because of ditches damaged by the flood in 1997.  Even the crop is low.
The authorities started demanding 20 baskets/acre and then offered a buying
rate of 300 Kyats/acre. (In the market, one basket is 450 Kyats now.) Many
farmers could not get their investment. (They lost)  Some places around
Mawlamyain Kyun, Irrawaddy division have successful fields but many places
have bad production.  Wah Khe Ma district has lost dry season rice and even
farmers have to give rainy season quota rice.  Authorities of Wah Khe Ma
district threaten farmers to compensate the rice quota and the farmers
resist the SLORC's announcement of not to collect quota rice.

 In Kyaukkyi, Pegu division, dry season rice was grown only at the Light
Infantry Battalion No. 351, which has 400+ acres.  People from Aung Soe Moe
villages who were relocated from the hill region had to contribute their
work for the LIB.351 without receiving anything.  The local farmers around
Kyaukkyi could not grow rice in the hot season because the small dam was
completely controlled by LIB.351.

The junta created a new word for quota rice, " objective rice", and "good
will rice" by the end of 1997. 


9 May, 1998
By Supamart Kasem, Tak

It will keep fighting for democracy

The Karen National Union, while persistent in its armed struggle for
independence, is ready to negotiate a truce with the State Peace and
Development Council, Bo Mya told over 1,000 Karen people at the
Thai-Burmese border near Tak on Thursday.

He called on the Karen people to unite to fight for democracy in Burma.

"The KNU will continue to fight government soldiers as we have guerrilla
units along the border in areas opposite Mae Hong Son, Tak, Kanchanaburi
and Ranong. We can get rid of at least 100 enemies every month," said the
KNU leader.

However, he said the KNU is ready for talks with Rangoon for a ceasefire. 

The KNU and Burmese military had held four rounds of negotiations, the last
one being in December 1996. The negotiations were fruitless as the KNU
declined to lay down arms.

The SPDC claimed the last round of talks were close to a settlement, had it
not been for interference from Western governments.

Moreover, in a meeting at Mae Tha Raw Hta opposite Tak's Umphang district
in January last year, 16 anti-Rangoon minority rebel groups passed a
resolution not to agree to a ceasefire, a source said.

Concerning the defection to Rangoon of Padoh Aung San, former KNU central
committee member and forestry minister and about 200 followers, Gen Bo Mya
said it was like waste discharged from the KNU.

"If they were still with us the KNU would suffer even more damage because
they cooperated with the pro-Rangoon Democratic Karen Buddhist Army to
illegally fell logs in Thailand's Salween forests. He also took away with
him 28 million baht. So we do not regret they are gone" he said.


10 May, 1998

As many as 12 million amphetamine tablets are smuggled into the country
from Burma each day, said Thongchai Chaiprom, a coordinator of the northern
bureau of the Office of Narcotics Control Board.

Expressing grave concern over the alarming increase in the inflow of speed
pills, he said the pills were being produced in territories under the
control of Red Wa tribesmen and being smuggled into the country from many
border points in Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai provinces.

Apart from amphetamines, Thongchai said a new drug which is similar to
"Ecstasy" had found its way into Chiang Mai. 

He noted that although Wa-controlled areas were thought to be the brain
speed pill production centres, the use of amphetamines in these areas was
unusually low.


9 May, 1998


A foreigner who sneaked into Burma illegally to distribute anti-government
literature has been arrested by the military government and charged with
being a mercenary for rebel groups jeopardising national security,
officials said yesterday.  James Rupert Russell Mawdsley, 24, from Sydney,
with dual Australian-British citizenship, was arrested on April 30 at
Mawlamyine town in Mon state about 300 kilometres east of Rangoon, they said.

The authorities had detained him in the capital as they considered
immigration action, they said.

This is the second time Mr Mawdsley has been arrested by Burmese
authorities. Last September he was deported after being caught distributing
anti-government leaflets in Rangoon.

Official media accused him of cooperating with the anti-government Karen
National Union rebel movement and with Burmese student exiles belonging to
the All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF).  The Thailand-based ABSDF
said Mr Mawdsley had entered Burma to draw the attention of the ruling
State Peace and Development Council's (SPDC) suppression of democratic
activities and its abuses of human rights.

It quoted a note it said Mr Mawdsley had left with KNU officials near
Mawlamyine which said his aim was to distribute anti-government literature
and actively seek arrest by the authorities.

"I love Burma. I want to see Burma as a free and peaceful country. If the
SPDC also wants Burma peaceful, they should start to talk with democratic
groups," the ABSDF quoted Mr Mawdsley's letter as saying.


8 May, 1998

Military activities by the Burmese government targeting ethnic minorities
have resulted in displacing about 480,000 Karens, or 30 per cent of the
rural Karen population, an independent report said yesterday.

According to the report Forgotten Victims of a Hidden War, between 100,000
and 200,000 ethnic Karens are displaced along Burma's border areas adjacent
to Thailand while more than 90,000 Karen refugees remain in camps inside

The report prepared by Burma Ethnic Research Group was released
simultaneously with another report alleging that over 300,000 ethnic Shan
have been relocated over the last two years.

The report said countless lives have been lost in the on-going civil war
which began on the day Burma became independent from Britain in 1948.

It called on the international community to give recognition to the group
and pressure the Burmese junta to give access to non-governmental
organisations to assess the plight of the displaced Karens.

The reports document the military's use of forced displacement and
resettlement as tools for political and social control.

Forced relocation is widely practised by the Burmese junta with little
information on the location or conditions of sites, given the government's
grip on access, political activity and the press.

The report also claims that international response to internally displaced
people remains inadequate and that the Burmese government often denies the
practice, allowing it to deny access to those affected. The UN progarammes
to care for and protect displaced populations remain weak, it said.


11 May, 1998

Rangoon -- Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Rodolfo Severino visited Burma over the weekend on a familiarisation, trip
with the new member country, the New Light of Myanmar reported. 

The Philippines foreign minister met Burma's chief economic planner, David
Abel, and Finance Minister Khin Maung Thein to discuss the financial crisis
in Asean, economic cooperation and development of the Greater Mekong Region.


8 May, 1998

Burma has ordered the withdrawal troops from a border village in Mae Hong
Son province following top Military-level talks.

Army chief Gen Chettha Thanajaro yesterday said he had informed a top
Burmese military leader about the border intrusion and the latter
immediately ordered his forces to withdraw.

Earlier, about 50 soldiers from Burma's 99th Battalion hunting Shan rebels
reportedly seized part of Ban Mai Kailuang in Pang Mapha district and dug
trenches and artillery positions there.

Sources said Gen Chettha telephoned Burmese military leader Lt-Gen Khin
Nyunt about the intrusion.


9 May, 1998

About 70 Burmese troops who entered Mae Hong Son's Pang Mapha district have
already returned to Burma, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kobsak Chutikul said

The spokesman did not say when the troops had withdrawn but explained that
the troops had entered Thailand only to secure food and that their
commander had not ordered them to do so.

The troops withdrew after the Thai-Burma Township Border Committee met to
discuss the issue on May 6, Kobsak said recently. The troops were from
Burma's 99th Battalion.

"The Burmese troops who came to the district on May 2 claimed that they had
encroached into the district to launch attacks on Shan ethnic guerrillas
hiding near the border. However, after interrogation they said their only
intention had been to seek food." he said.


8 May, 1998

Congressman dubbed a 'hound' for speech

Rangoon -- Burma's state-run press lashed out yesterday at a US congressman
who met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, calling him "a monkey".

The barbs in an editorial were directed at California Republican Dana
Rohrbacher, whom the military government allowed to visit the country on
April 13.

Mr Rohrbacher spoke about the meeting with Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi
in an interview on April 26 on Voice of America radio, which is heard in

The editorial said Mr Rohrbacher slandered the government during the

"With goodwill, the government has allowed the US congressman to enter
Myanmar [Burma] legally but he has exploited and abused the hospitality of
the government," the editorial said.

"Instead of meeting the ordinary people, he spent over three hours with the
'democracy princess' and listened to her lecture," it said.

The author compared Mr Rohrbacher, who has frequently criticised the
military government, to "a barking hound let loose from its leash" and a
"monkey who ate the fruits from the farm and drove the farmer away".

Access to Mrs Suu Kyi is restricted by the government, although it has
allowed her to meet the foreign ministers of the Philippines and Malaysia.


11 May, 1998

London-- Group of Eight foreign ministers on Saturday criticised Burma for
"continuing widespread human-rights abuses" and told it to take concrete
action against the drugs trade.

"We are concerned at the political and economic situation in the country
and at continuing widespread human-rights abuses", they said in a final
communique, singling out abuses against ethnic minorities and cross-border
attacks on refugees in Thailand.

The eight ministers said the authorities should tackle these abuses as a
matter of urgency and engage in substantive dialogue both with national
minorities and with pro-democracy campaigners led by Aung San Suu Kyi "for
the purpose of establishing democracy". 


14 May, 1998

The six-month-old row between Asean and the European Union over Burma's
participation in the formal dialogue between the two regions may soon be

Britain, which currently holds the EU presidency, has suggested that Burma
could attend the next meeting of EU-Asean senior officials, set for Bangkok
on June 22_provided it maintains a "passive presence."

For the men from Rangoon, that would mean no talking and no handshaking
with EU officials and probably no seats at the main negotiating table. The
proposal, made in the warm afterglow of the Asia-Europe summit in London,
comes six months after EU officials called off a Bangkok meeting with Asean
because Rangoon had been given observer status.


18 November, 1993
By Bertil Lintner in Washington and New York

US Drug Agency Assailed for Links to Burmese Generals

[Staff Note: Several recent articles have addressed narcotics in Burma,
questioning both the SLORC's sincerity in wiping out the drug trade and
whether it makes any sense for the DEA to be working with the regime on
counter-narcotics affairs. A Washington-based PR firm recently paid for
several well-respected journalists to travel to Burma and see for
themselves how the military regime was tackling the problem.  Thanks to the
advice of lobbyists and DEA agents, the junta has realized that it needs to
look like it is really doing something to eradicate drugs.  While opium
cultivation may have been stopped in a few small areas, it is also
expanding into new areas, including the Burma-India border area.  This
article, written in 1993, demonstrates how little things have changed.]

Undercover drug agents have just bought narcotics from an unsuspecting
street peddler in New York.  Within seconds, a voice comes over the radio
in a car parked nearby.  Other cars coming roaring up the block.  The
peddler panics and  tries to run away, but there is nowhere to go.  The
streets echo with shouts and sirens.  An arrest is made and drugs are
seized.  The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scored another

At Bangkok's Don Muang airport, a West African national is boarding a
flight to Europe.  He doesn't notice the DEA agent lurking in the
background.  Acting on a tip-off, plaincothes policemen search him and his
luggage, and find two kilograms of heroin hidden in a secret compartment in
his travel bag.  Another DEA victory posted in the war on drugs. 

Or is it?  In Washington, many policy-makers are now beginning to question
the effectiveness of sting operations like these and to reassess the DEA's
contribution to America's overall foreign-policy agenda.  It is becoming
increasingly difficult to tell, they say, whether the covert war on drugs
is really achieving anything other than giving the agents involved a quick
thrill and perhaps a sense of satisfaction.

All agree that the DEA's operations do not come cheap.  The agency spends
millions of dollars a year in the US buying drugs from small-time dealers
in the hope of reaching bigger traffickers. In Thailand and other drug
producing countries, the DEA is said to be paying up to 80% of the street
value of drugs confiscated by local law enforcement agencies.

Street seizures and drug burning ceremonies in supplier countries have
become increasingly popular methods of justifying multi-billion dollar
budgets for drug enforcement agencies.  Panama is a good case in point.  On
8 May 1986, then DEA chief John Lawn sent a laudatory message to Manuel
Antonio Noriega, then commander in chief of that country's defence forces.
Lawn wrote that "I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my deep
appreciation for the vigorous anti-drug trafficking policy that you have
adopted, which is reflected in the numerous expulsions from Panama of
accused traffickers, the large seizures of cocaine and precursor chemicals
that have occurred in Panama." 

This document was subsequently buried in the US Justice Department's files
in an effort to avoid a major embarrassment.  But now the same story seems
to be repeating itself in Burma.  

Official US policy has been to condemn the ruling military junta in Rangoon
for its direct involvement with major drug trafficking groups in the Golden
Triangle region, as well as for its gross violations of human rights.  At
the same time, however, the DEA has been praising the junta for its
"vigorous anti-drug policies." Predictably, a conflict has arisen between
the two government agencies involved -- the DEA and the State Department.
One result of this feud has been the disciplinary action taken against the
three consecutive DEA country officers assigned to Burma.

The first to go was Gregory Korniloff, who reportedly ignored the orders of
then US Ambassador to Burma Burton Levin to cease regular meetings with his
Burmese military counterparts. This order was issued after the US
officially condemned the killings of pro-democracy demonstrators in Burma
in September 1988. Korniloff was ordered to leave Rangoon in December 1988
after making an unsuccessful attempt to arrange an unauthorized meeting
with officials of Burma's powerful military intelligence service. Korniloff
was said to be eager to resume normal ties with the military leadership in
Rangoon, which he claimed had made significant headway in the war on drugs.

In February 1989, the US Government removed Burma from a list of countries
eligible to receive US aid earmarked from combating the drug trade.  The
stated reason was Rangoon's inability to stem the flow of drugs coming from
the Burmese sector of the Golden Triangle. US satellite images showed that
drug production in Burma was increasing at an alarming rate, and
intelligence reports suggested high-level official complicity in the drug

In July of the same year, however, a new DEA country attache called Angelo
Saladino arrived in Rangoon.  On the assumption that the Burmese military
had no imminent plans to relinquish its hold on power, the US Embassy had
by then relaxed restrictions on contacts with the junta.  But carrying the
policy a bit further, Saladino saw fit to disagree openly with official US
policies by claiming they hindered the DEA's ability to conduct narcotics
suppression activities in Burma.

In February 1990 a Burmese government delegation, led by the Foreign
Ministry's Director-General Ohn Gyaw, visited Washington to lobby for
resumption of US anti-narcotics assistance.  The State Department refused
to see the delegation, but the Burmese had better luck with Charles Rangel,
Chairman of the Committee on Narcotics in the House of Representatives, and
senior DEA officials.  The meetings embarrassed the State Department
because the delegation included Brig.-Gen. Tin Hla, the commander of
Burma's 22nd Light Infantry Division, a unit which not only had never
participated in any narcotics efforts but also had played a major role in
the 1988 massacres in Rangoon.  

To coincide with Ohn Gyaw's and Tin Hla's visit to the US, Saladino had
encouraged the Rangoon authorities to organise the first public drug
burning in Burma, according to a source close to the DEA.  Diplomatic
representatives were invited to witness the ceremony and Saladino, together
with Burma's powerful intelligence chief, Lieut.-Gen. Khin Nyunt, attached
a great deal of importance to it.  Sources say that Saladino had, without
the US Embassy's knowledge, arranged with the Burmese Government to use the
drug burning ceremony as a means of publicising the DEA's previously covert
presence in Burma.  

What prompted the unofficial alliance between Burma's military rulers and
the DEA is a matter of conjecture.  Analysts speculate that the former were
using the narcotics issue to improve their abysmal international
reputation, while the latter wanted to justify its presence in Burma as
well as, in the words of a source close to the DEA, to show Washington that
"we're doing something."

When the February 1990 drug burning ceremony failed to attract any
attention from the international press, intelligence chief Khin Nyunt and
the DEA orchestrated a media blitz a few months later. A key part of the
plan was to keep the US Embassy in Rangoon in the dark.  While Ambassador
Levin -- one of the junta's most outspoken critics -- was out of the
country, the DEA arranged for four foreign journalists to visit Rangoon at
a time when no press visas were issued.  While they were all experienced
professionals, they were probably unaware of the covert manoeuvring by the
Burmese intelligence agency and the DEA.

On their arrival in Rangoon, the journalists were met by officials of Khin
Nyunt's secret police who took care of them throughout their stay.  It did
not take long, however, before the US Embassy staff found out what was
happening.  Perhaps inevitably, the differences which existed between the
DEA and the State Department surfaced in a way which embarrassed all
concerned.  Television footage taken by the visiting journalists showed
Chris Szymanski, the second ranking official at the US Embassy, and
Saladino directly contradicting each other on camera.

While Saladino assured viewers the Burmese military was sincere in its
anti-narcotics drive, Szymanski pointed out that drugs were pouring across
Burma's borders in all directions and nothing substantial was being done to
stop the flow.  When Levin returned, Saladino was reportedly called in and
roundly reprimanded for disobeying the embassy's orders.

The controversy reached new heights in March 1991, when it was discovered
that Saladino had authored a memoradum addressed to Khin Nyunt.  The
memorandum, a copy of which has been obtained by the REVIEW, lists in
detail the various ways Burma might try to impress the US Government and UN
agencies.  It also provided specific suggestions on ways to "deprive many
of Myanmar's (Burma's) most vocal critics of some of their shopworn, yet
effective, weapons in the campaign to discredit (Burma's) narcotics
programme." Finally, Saladino recommended several options to the junta for
silencing "its most biased critics."  

"Be assured," Saladino concluded, "that I, and my staff, will continue to
use our own professional credibility and that of the DEA as the premier
narcotics law enforcement agency in the world, to ensure that your
anti-narcotics efforts are accurately represented to the world at large,
and that we will support your efforts wit hall the means available to us."

It took some time before Washington discovered the memorandum.   When
noises were made, Saladino reportedly flew back to the DEA's headquarters
in the US at his own expense.  He managed to convince his superiors that he
had not, after all, actually sent the memorandum to Khin Nyunt, State
Department sources maintain.   A compromise solution was reached:  Saladino
had his tour of  duty in Burma officially curtailed but was allowed to
serve out his term which only had a few more months to run.

The DEA's participation in official drug burning ceremonies in Burma are
the cause of much of the controversy.  DEA personnel have argued that "some
drugs burnt is better than nothing," while State Department officers have
repeatedly dismissed the ceremonies as sham public relations exercises
which have not affected the flow of drugs from the Golden Triangle.  

It is by now well known in intelligence circles that the drugs burned on a
number of occasions in northeastern Burma have actually been bought from
the traffickers by the military authorities for the sole purpose of being
publicly destroyed.  The traffickers, mostly senior cadres of the now
defunct Communist Party of Burma (CPB), are currently accorded official
status as local militia commanders, one result of the 1989 ceasefire
agreement between the government and the former rebel forces.  

Saladino's successor as DEA country attache in Burma, Richard Horn, arrived
in Rangoon in mid-1992.  He lasted about one year before being recalled to
Washington.  Horn's undoing was a series of unauthorized meetings with
officials of the Wa wing of the former CPB rebel army who had approached
several US agencies, including the DEA, with a drug-eradication proposal.
He is now suing the Clinton Administration for what he claims was an
improper transfer.  

However, there is an alternative view of Horn's dismissal.  To improve its
image internationally, the Burmese Government invited several delegations
of US politicians and former congressmen to visit the country.  The DEA,
contrary to the State Department's wishes, played a key background role in
ensuring that the visits took place, according to State Department sources.
 One of these sources complained that the DEA "is trying to run its own
foreign policy."  One of the delegations visited Rangoon in March-April of
this year and, in an official letter submitted to it, Horn continued the
DEA tradition of praising the Burmese military's anti-narcotics efforts.
In an even more embarrassing development, several of the visiting US
politicians met some prominent Burmese drug traffickers, who were
introduced to the apparently unsuspecting Americans as "leaders of the
local nationals."  

In August 1993, Congressmen Rangel -- one of the Burmese Government's most
vocal supporters in the US -- and a few other US politicians were
introduced to Lin Mingxian, a former CPB commander turned government
militia commander in the hills north of Kengtung.  Lin is considered the
fastest rising star in the Burmese heroin empire, and his group is emerging
as one of the most powerful drug trafficking organisations in Burma today.

While DEA agents in Burma have come in for particularly harsh criticism,
they are not alone.  The reputation of the entire agency was tarnished in a
recent report from the US General Accounting Office which examined the
DEA's operations in Southeast Asia and especially in Burma.  

Dated December 1992, the report rebuked the DEA for the "poor performance
of some of its staff in Southeast Asia, whom it said lacked "the knowledge,
skills and abilities recommended for their positions."  The overall quality
of the DEA's intelligence analysts assigned to Southeast Asia "has declined
significantly since the late 1980's," the report concluded. 


5 May, 1998
By John Edward Porter and Tom Lantos

Congress of the United States
Washington. D.C 20515
May 5, 1998

Lt. General Khin Nyunt,
Director of Defense Services
Intelligence Ministry of Defense
Signal Pagoda Road
Dagon Post Office
Rangoon, Burma

Dear Lt. Gen Khin Nyunt:

As co-chairmen of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, we are writing to
express our outrage over the extraordinary prison sentences that were
recently given to several democracy activists who were engaged in the
peaceful expression of their political views. In particular, we strongly
protest the 25-year sentence given to Ms. San San, the 15-year sentence
given to Mr. Aung Tan, and the sentences given to 40 student activists,
including death sentences given to six students.

Ms. San San, a former parliamentarian, was charged with conspiring to
overthrow the government after she gave a radio interview with the British
Broadcasting Service in which she was critical of your regime. Mr. Aung
Tan, a student leader, was charged with violating antiquated restrictions
on freedom of expression for writing a history of the Burmese student
movement. The forty students were engaged in peaceful political activists,
including an attempt to give a letter detailing your regime's human rights
abuses to U.N. Special Envoy De Soto. They were falsely charged with
plotting to assassinate SPDC/SLORC leaders and with other "subversive

The prosecution, imprisonment and possible execution of these individuals
for the legitimate exercise of fundamental political rights is an affront
to the values of civilized nations. These are, unfortunately, just the most
recent in a long line of baseless arrests followed by sham trials and
outrageous sentences, designed to weaken the democratic opposition to
SPDC/SLORC's authoritarian rule. We believe, however, that the spirit of
freedom and democracy of the Burmese people is stronger and more patient
than the forces of repression, and it cannot be jailed or killed.

We urge the SPDC/SLRC to immediately release these and thousands of other
political prisoners who fill Burma's jails, and we demand that you repeal
laws restricting fundamental freedoms of speech, thought and association
guaranteed under international law. Furthermore, we strongly urge you to
begin a serious dialogue with Daw Aung San Su Kyi and the National League
for Democracy concerning the reestablishment of democracy in Burma, and to
end the harassment of Burmese citizens who are peacefully asserting their
political rights.


(Signed by)
John Edward Porter
Member of Congress

(Signed by)
Tom Lantos
Member of Congress


11 May, 1998

In recent weeks, the Burmese government has enforced a series of serious
penalties on its political opposition. It has secretly jailed an elderly
woman and sentenced student leaders to death. The military junta appears to
be stepping up its repression, a move which concerns all its neighbours.

The Burmese regime has served notice in the past two weeks that it may have
changed its name but the spirit of Slorc lives on. The harsh holders of
power have condemned a string of opposition figures. The sentences have
ranged from actual death sentences to virtual death sentences. At the same
time, the military junta has made it clear it will not discuss or negotiate
the political future of Burma with anyone. That includes, especially, the
country's only elected leaders and concerned foreign friends of Burma.

It is difficult to say which is the worst breach of decency by the State
Peace and Development Council, the new name for Slorc. The prison sentence
of 25 years against San San could qualify. She is an often outspoken
Burmese dissident. She was sentenced by Slorc to 25 years in prison for the
heinous crime of speaking against the government. She was paroled six years

But late last year, San San spoke on the telephone to a reporter for the
British Broadcasting Corporation. The military regime said that was
treason, and San San went back to prison to serve her former 20 years, plus
25 new prison years -- a total of 45 years. She is 60 years old.

Then there are the death sentences against two former student leaders, Ko
Thein and Khin Hlaing. The two were among six political dissidents tried at
a secret military court somewhere in Burma last month. They and 38 others
faced charges of terrorism, including possession of explosives and plotting
to assassinate members of the ruling dictatorship. 

Details of the charges and the court martial testimony were secret, and
remain that way. But it appears the' main evidence against Ko Thein and
Khin Hlaing was that they tried to hand a letter on human rights to a
special United Nations investigator and personal representative of UN
secretary-general Kofi Annan.

Amid these displays of Burmese justice, a more predictable street show was
unfolding in Rangoon. Several US journalists on a visit to Burma got the
back of the junta's hand. They tried to visit Aung San Suu Kyi at her
Rangoon home. 

Military forces ringing the home turned them back. The regime considers Mrs
Suu Kyi to be Burma's most dangerous person. This is why she is continually
and continuously harassed and mistreated, denied even the most basic
political rights.

This treatment of the country's only elected leader also displays the
arrogance of the regime, which has succeeded in having its cake and eating
it. In 1995, the dictatorship announced it had released Mrs Suu Kyi from
seven years of indefinite house arrest. 

Since then, Rangoon has received credit for releasing Mrs Suu Kyi, while
continuing to keep her wrapped up. This has reflected no credit to the
international community at large, which refuses to speak out against this
unacceptable treatment Burma's leading politician. 

Each of these, and all of them, are warnings from Rangoon of the price of
dissent. The regime continues to promise to establish democracy. But the
fact is that the regime cannot tolerate criticism. It is determined to hold
power at all costs. Last week, senior minister David Abel said the junta
would return Burma to isolation if necessary for the regime to maintain its
brutal rule.

There is great need to show support for the people of Burma now. The UN's
Mr Annan must speak out to condemn the death sentences imposed on two men
who tried to give him information. People everywhere must condemn the
virtual death sentence of grandmother San San. The world, and particularly
its Asean partners, must inform Burma that it is no longer acceptable to
make victims of its own people.


6 May, 1998

Unocal Corporation has invited its shareholders to attend annual meeting
scheduled on Monday, June 1, 1998. The meeting will be held in the
auditorium at the company's Hartley center, 376 South Valencia Avenue in
Brea, California at 10:00 a.m. Shareholders are expected to vote two
crucial resolutions regarding Unocal's cooperation with brutal and drug
tainted military regime in  Burma.