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U.S. urges Indonesia to reform


Suspect pleads guilty to terrorist charge 
Thai hostages to face prosecution
US must demand peaceful transition to democracy
Mourning students bury dead
Shootings rock cradle of the rich
U.S. Urges Indonesia to Reform
Hongkong Standard (May 14, 1998)
Suspect pleads guilty to `terrorist' charge
YANGON: A British-Australian national suspected by Myanmar authorities of
``terrorist'' activities and charged with illegal entry pleaded guilty
James Rupert Russell Mawdsley, 25, was charged with violating the
Emergency Provisions Immigrations Act. 
But, despite public accusations that Mawdsley was a ``terrorist'' in
cahoots with anti-government elements, authorities appeared anxious to let
him off lightly. 
Sessions judge Than Htwe said final sentencing would take place tomorrow. 
- AFP 

South China Morning Post (May 14, 1998)
Activist admits he entered illegally 
A British-Australian national suspected by authorities of "terrorist"
activities yesterday pleaded guilty to illegally entering the country,
court sources and foreign diplomats said. 


Thai hostages to face prosecution
The Nation (May 14, 1998)
TWELVE Thais who were taken hostage for ransom by pro-Burma Karen rebels
opposite Tak province, were released yesterday and will face legal action,
Army Secretary Maj Gen Pongthep Thespratheep said. 
The rebels, known as the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, detained the
twelve and sought a ransom for them since the rebels thought they were
linked to a recent attack by a rival Karen group on their base. 
''The DKBA found the men in their controlled territory so they suspected
their involvement in the recent attack,'' Pongthep said. 
The DKBA, supported by the Burmese government, has been trying hard to
suppress the Karen National Union which has been fighting for independence
from the government. 
He added that the Thais had a clandestine logging and sawmill deal with
another Karen group and that they were frequently crossing into Burma
without permission. 

The Nation (May 14, 1998)
Editorial & Opinion 
What Others Say/US must demand peaceful transition to democracy
The kidnapping of political dissidents by Indonesia's military is not
But Pius Lustrilanang, 30, is the first survivor to describe his harrowing
experience, defying threats that bearing witness would bring harm to him
or his relatives. A democratic activist since his university days,
Lustrilanang on Feb 4 was forced at gunpoint into a car, blindfolded and
taken to a prison (he never learned which one) where he was interrogated,
tortured and held for two months. 
Lustrilanang believes, without proof but based on persuasive evidence,
that his captors belonged to Indonesia's armed services. Their commander
in chief is President Suharto, Indonesia's autocratic ruler for more than
three decades and a longtime US favourite. 
US President Bill Clinton not long ago blamed the Cold War for past US
support of dictators who squelched ''their own people's aspirations to
live up to the fullest of their God-given abilities.'' But the Cold War is
over, Suharto is squelching harder than ever -- and the United States is
backing billions in aid to his regime. 
The arguments for such aid aren't frivolous; nor is it only a matter of
looking out for US business interests, as some critics contend. Indonesia
is in the middle of a dire economic crisis. Its currency has collapsed,
businesses are going bankrupt and millions of people -- in the world's
fourth-most populous nation -- are being driven into joblessness and
poverty. Without foreign aid, administration officials fear, these
people's plight will become even more desperate, and their country could
plunge into chaos. 
''The best protection against a political breakdown is the restoration of
financial stability,'' says Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. But surely,
the two things work together, that is, financial stability is also no
longer possible without political reform. 
Indonesia's economic crisis is a political crisis, too, brought on in
large part by corruption and cronyism among Suharto's closest aides and
relatives. The president has granted no political voice to the millions
who are bearing the brunt of the crisis -- and who, in the long run, will
have to repay the billions in additional debt that Suharto is now
assuming, with US help, on their behalf. 
Yet, given Indonesia's unresponsive government, there is little assurance
that aid will benefit these people. ''No one believes that economic
stability can be restored without fundamental political change,'' an
Indonesian alliance of nongovernmental groups declared last week. 
A pro-democracy movement, led by university students, is gathering
strength in Indonesia. Its outcome is highly uncertain, and its
participants are taking grave risks, as Lustrilanang knows; several of his
cellmates were released but have yet to reappear. ''I am afraid they have
been executed,'' he says. 
The United States should be making clear, publicly and privately, that it
is on the side of this movement -- that Suharto and his army should be
assisting now in a peaceful transition to democracy. Only that can bring
stability and economic health back to Indonesia. 
The Washington Post 
Hongkong Standard (May 14, 1998)
Mourning students bury dead
JAKARTA: More than 3,000 students from universities across the Indonesian
capital mourned yesterday as two compatriots killed in clashes with
security forces were buried in the red clay earth of a city cemetery. 
``The spirit of your struggle, young heroes, we will carry on,''
proclaimed a banner strung across a hillside overlooking the graves. 
The two students were among six killed during protests on Tuesday at
Trisakti University, a private Catholic institution in West Jakarta where
new clashes erupted yesterday as the funerals proceeded several kilometres
The others were being buried elsewhere in the city and in the West Java
centre of Bandung. 
Hery Hartanto, 21, and Elang Mulya Lesmana, 20, were buried side-by-side
in plain wooden coffins draped with green cloth and red-and-white
Indonesian flags as a sweltering sun beat down. 
``This is the moment we had all been expecting,'' Anto, a student from
Jakarta's Pancesila University, said. - Reuters 

Hongkong Standard (May 14, 1998)
Shootings rock cradle of the rich
JAKARTA: With President Suharto out of the country, Indonesia's crisis has
worsened by the day and calls for his departure from office have mounted. 
The killing of six students by security forces at Jakarta's prestigious
Trisakti University has only accentuated the two month-old student
campaign, analysts said. 
Despite the frantic work of administration spin doctors in the official
press, the shootings brought tens of thousands to the streets of the
capital and cities across the country. 
The impact of the deaths has been all the greater as the Jakarta protest
had been peaceful with none of the vandalism and looting seen in the
northern city of Medan last week. 
Trisakti University is a private college for the sons and daughters of the
professional classes. 
Parents dream of sending their offspring to what is considered the
incubator of Indonesia's middle class. 
TV footage and press photos portrayed members of the security forces
running amok, chasing protesters into the campus and shooting them in the
back with assault rifles. 
The six dead fell inside the university, hit in the head or back, as were
most of the dozens who were taken to hospital. 
Witnesses, including Western diplomats, picked their way through empty
cartridge cases, contradicting claims by Foreign Minister Ali Alatas who
said no live ammunition had been distributed to the security forces. 
For Albert Hasibuan, member of the National Commission for Human Rights,
there was ``no doubt that the security forces had received orders or were
at least authorised to fire''. 
He discounted any possibility of the shootings being caused by the
frustration or fatigue of the security forces, or insufficient training. 
Colonel Aritonang, a Jakarta police spokesman said the students had not
been shot but trampled by colleagues. - AFP 
York Time (May 13, 1998) 
U.S. Urges Indonesia to Reform
WASHINGTON -- The United States said on Tuesday night that Indonesia needs
to undergo "political reform" if it is to have any hope of regaining
stability, the first public insistence from Washington that President
Suharto loosen his iron grip on the country. 
But the White House has decided not to make those reforms a condition for
continued U.S. support for economic aid to the country. A senior
administration official said this evening that "the aid is overwhelmingly
humanitarian, and we believe it is in the interest of the Indonesian
people that we go ahead with those programs." 
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright said that Indonesia "needs to break the cycle of violence which
appears to be emerging," and that "the United States deplores the
killings" that left at least six Indonesian students dead Tuesday after a
protest in Jakarta. 
The statement followed a day of internal debate within the administration
in which several officials were clearly concerned that the United States
is now, in the words of one, "too associated with Suharto." 
But one official familiar with the Monday night White House strategy
session said that there was no discussion of encouraging Suharto to leave
office, the way the Reagan administration pressed Ferdinand Marcos to
leave the Philippines in 1986. 

Yours sincerely,
Kyaw Zay Ya

"If you give a man a fish, he will have a meal. 
 If you teach him to fish, he will have a living. 
 If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed. 
 If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. 
 If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people. 
 By sowing a seed once, you will harvest once. 
 By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold. 
 By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold."  (ANONYMOUS

("If it is not broken, don't fix it" leads to the worst situation.)