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Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: February 24, 2000

=========== THE BURMANET NEWS ===========
Thursday, February 24, 2000
Issue #1470

=========== www.burmanet.org ============

To view the version of this issue with photographs, go to-



``The mass relocation plan of the Wa only means shifting the opium
production areas from the China border to the Thai border.''

Thamnu Sirisingha, of Thailand's Narcotics Control Office on Burma's
forced relocation of 50,000 Wa villagers ostensibly to fight drugs.


Inside Burma--








Feb. 24, 2000
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Continuing a quixotic legal challenge of the
ruling military government, Myanmar's democratic opposition is
waiting to hear whether the country's supreme court will reverse its
dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the country's leaders.

A statement from the opposition National League for Democracy,
received Thursday, said the party lodged an appeal with the court
asking it to reverse its dismissal of a complaint that the government
was taking illegally destroy the party.

There was no indication when the court might issue a decision on the
appeal, which was made Tuesday. NLD vice chairman Tin Oo said
Wednesday he expected the decision would be posted a public notice
board, as is customary.

The supreme court late last year dismissed the case filed
against top Myanmar officials, including influential military
intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, for lack of sufficient

``The supreme court decision was based on the examination of
selective witnesses. It was a summary disposal, so we have lodged a
special appeal,'' Tin Oo said Wednesday by telephone. Opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi and executive members of her party went to
the supreme court in downtown Yangon Tuesday for the court hearing,
which lasted nearly four hours, said Tin Oo. More than 200 members of
the party's youth and women's wings
waited at the entrance of the supreme court building and chanted
``Long live Aung San Suu Kyi.''

It is rare for the opposition, which suffers severe repression from
the authorities, to make such a public display in downtown Yangon.
There was some minor scuffling when security personnel asked the
crowd to move along.

NLD chairman Aung Shwe lodged the complaint last year against Home
Minister Col. Tin Hlaing and 27 other officials.

The officials were accused of illegally rounding up hundreds of party
members and detaining them until they resigned as part of a campaign
of harassment that included closing branch offices. The crackdown
against the NLD came after Suu Kyi stepped up her campaign to force
the government to convene a parliament elected in

The court dismissed the complaint after a one-day hearing before its
11-member panel on Sept. 30. The proceedings were not open to the

The NLD won 82 percent of the seats in the 1990 vote, which took
place two years after the military violently crushed anti-government
protests. The army refused to honor the election after the parties it
backed lost.

Suu Kyi, under what became six years of house arrest, won the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1991 for her non-violent promotion of democracy in
Myanmar, which is also called Burma.



March, 2000

[Tokyo Journal is the oldest English magazine in Japan.]

Kurt Hanson

"We will never surrender!" General Bo Mya thunders to his troops in
the guerrilla outpost deep in the jungles of Burma. Heading the
4,000-man Karen army he is still defiant after 51 years of fighting.
However, Bo Mya, the leader of the Karen National Union (KNU) for 25
years was recently replaced by Ba Thein. The new man in charge may
sue for peace, but in the meantime the war goes on. Just as it has
for decades in the longest running insurgency this century. 
The enemy is the Burmese military junta, which continues its
centuries-old policy of subjugating and oppressing the Karen and all
ethnic groups and fellow Burmese who dare stand up to its rule. While
most other ethnic groups have either capitulated or surrendered the
Karen fight on, but for how long is anybody¹s guess. These are hard
times for the Karen guerrillas as they face a no win war of attrition
against the military might of Burma¹s 400,000-man army.  
Once controlling huge stretches of territory the KNU are now holding
precariously to thin strips of land hugging the Thai-Burma border.
Their once formidable guerrilla force is now reduced to a few
thousand fighters. In this war, where the forces of good against evil
is so clearly defined, it appears that the bad guys, the Burmese
forces, are winning.  
Things were very different in the years following the end of WWII
when Karen forces were nearly on par with the Burmese. Armed and
trained by the British to wage a rear guard action against Japanese
forces, the Karen emerged in 1945 as one of the most powerful ethnic
groups in Burma ready to challenge the Burmese on the battlefield. At
the start of the conflict in 1949 the Karen Army once reached the
outskirts of Rangoon. But it has since steadily lost ground and power
in the ensuing decades. And it¹s been five years since the Karen
suffered their worst defeat at the hands of the Burmese when they
lost Manerplaw, their main headquarters. The stronghold of Kowmoora
just to the south fell after a 6-week siege.  
And the war goes on. Even today refugees continue to flee to Thailand
to join the over 100,000 already encamped there. "We want peace with
the Burmese but they have turned down our repeated offers for talks.
Peace envoys sent to Rangoon have been turned away," General Bo Mya
said in a recent interview. "They ask us to surrender our weapons
first, but we will never do this." The objectives of the Karen people
are simple he added: "We want to live in a federated state, with a
central government but with greater autonomy for the ethnic groups
around Burma. We do not seek independence nor do we seek to overthrow
the government." 

After its losses in 1995 the Karen changed tactics. Gone are the days
of fighting from fixed positions to slug it out with the Burmese Army
in conventional warfare. The Rangoon junta has always been more then
willing to let the bodies of young Burmese conscripts literally pile
up on the battlefield, not so the Karen. Now the Karen operate purely
as a guerrilla force. Mobile units ranging from 20 to 100 soldiers
roam the jungle to harass and ambush Burmese forces in a never-ending
game of cat and mouse. The Karen excel at stealth, concealment, and
jungle fighting. "Our tactic is to demoralize the Burmese army," a
Karen spokesman said. Mine warfare is being employed more and more by
both sides. 
A military observer from Europe, a two-year veteran of the Vietnam
War, who has spent the last twelve years with the Karen, summed up
his observations: "These two wars are very different. The Vietnam War
was political, but this is a war of survival. The Karen have been
pushed into a corner and have no choice but to fight. These are not a
warrior people. They are very gentle people, simple farmers who are
just trying to keep from being exterminated." In comparing the
effectiveness of the Burmese army with the North Vietnamese army, he
added, "The North Vietnamese were far superior in every way, first
rate soldiers, well trained and motivated. The Burmese army on the
other hand is third rate at best, poorly trained and poorly led. They
are cowards, only good at terrorizing unarmed civilians killing women
and children and burning villages."

One Japanese volunteer soldier, who asked to remain anonymous, and
has fought alongside the Karen for three years gave his insight into
the war, "These are my friends. I can¹t just stand by and watch them
being killed. That¹s why I¹m a soldier in the Karen army." 
In the Burmese junta¹s efforts to raise it¹s huge army it has rounded
up and kidnapped thousands of teenagers off the streets of cities and
villages across the country. Given rudimentary training they are then
thrown into battle to fight against the ethnic groups along its vast
border. Military commanders routinely pocket the meager wages of rank
and file soldiers. Soldiers wounded in battle or fallen sick receive
scant medical care. As a consequence, killing of officers is common
and the desertion rate is high. In spite of these problems the
Burmese Army still posses a formidable threat effectively holding the
country hostage.

The UN has branded the military junta in Rangoon as one of the worst
human rights violators in the world, ranked number eight from the
bottom of the list and in the same league as regimes like Iraq and
North Korea. The junta has turned a once prosperous country into a
real House of Horrors. The military is specifically designed for
internal repression rather then external defense of the country. In
Karen territory, Burmese forces conduct acts of savagery against
civilians on a huge scale. Burmese troops routinely target villages,
killing all who resist, raping the women, and forcing survivors at
gunpoint to work as porters or human mine sweepers in the war zone.
Some favorite acts of terror: gouging out eyes, beheadings, crushing
with heavy logs and impaling women on bamboo stakes. 
It was in this situation in 1997 that gave rise to God's Army;
founded by 12-year-old twins whose village suffered the same fate as
thousands of others. This tragic situation is the doing of the
Burmese junta. If it had not waged a war against civilians there
would be no God's Army or twelve-year-old boys forced to fight for
their lives in the harsh jungle. Violence begets violence. 
In spite of all the horror suffered, the Karen are eternally
optimistic and feel that someday there will be peace. The will of the
people of Burma is stronger then all the fire and steel that the
junta can throw at them. Thankfully, all evil regimes eventually come
to an end. And in this time of darkness, Aung San Suu Kyi shines like
a beacon of hope for 40,000,000 people. It¹s inevitable that the
junta in Rangoon will someday be replaced with a government based on
democracy and freedom  its  just a matter of time.



Feb. 23, 2000

MUANG NA, Myanmar (AP) _ The leader of a major ethnic insurgent group
in Myanmar has denied his force is seeking a cease-fire with the
Yangon government.
A statement last month purportedly issued by his group had said that
it was seeking a cease-fire.

Yawd Serk, supreme commander of the rebel Shan State Army
(South), told The Associated Press in an interview that his troops
would not give up fighting Myanmar's military regime. The interview
was conducted Tuesday at a small camp about 10 kilometers (six miles)
inside Myanmar across from the northern Thai province of Chiang Mai.
His remarks were made available Wednesday after reporters returned to

``We will not put down our weapons,'' said Yawd Serk. ``We fight till
we die to protect the Shan people. We will not start the peace
negotiations until we clearly know the Burmese government's
standpoint about a cease-fire.'' Earlier this month, Lt. Col. Hla
Min, a government spokesman, told the AP that Yawd Serk's group would
have to lay down its weapons in surrender as part of a cease-fire
deal, a condition unlikely to be acceptable to the rebels.

The Shan State Army (South) is one of about a score of major ethnic
rebel groups that have been seeking autonomy for several decades from
the central government of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Most of the groups reached cease-fires with the government after it
began implementing an effective carrot-and-stick approach about 10
years ago, promising development funds after conducting military

Yawd Serk on Tuesday disavowed a statement issued in late
January, allegedly in his name, which said his insurgent group wanted
to make peace with Yangon.

The January statement said other guerrilla groups, including Shan
factions that have signed cease-fires with the regime, had turned
against the Shan State Army (South).

``Because of these circumstances, we have thought it better to end
this war and solve our problems by peaceful means,'' said the

Asked Tuesday if the statement reflected a split within his group, he
said that it might and that he had ordered an investigation.

Last month's announcement for peace had come as a surprise. In
December, Yawd Serk said Shan resistance would never be snuffed out
and that the U.N.-sanctioned bombing of Kosovo to stop ethnic
cleansing by Yugoslav forces last year had given hope to oppressed
minority groups everywhere.
Myanmar's military government also had denied any knowledge of a
peace initiative.

Yawd Serk is believed to control several thousand troops
fighting for independence in Shan State in eastern Myanmar, and he
claimed Tuesday that he controlled around 5,000 soldiers.

He said his group had to clean up its image because Shan
insurgencies have traditionally been financed by drug money. Yawd
Serk last year garnered attention by declaring a self-professed war
against drug-traffickers on the border, which lies at the center of
the opium-producing Golden Triangle.



YANGON, Feb 24 (AFP) - Myanmar struck out at neighbours Thailand,
China and India on Thursday, accusing them of allowing smugglers
access to its borders to ship in precursor chemicals used in
amphetamine production.

"No precursor chemicals of any kind are produced in Myanmar," an
official commentary published in the state-run New Light of Mynmar
newspaper said.

"If illegal entry of these chemicals coming from China, India and
Thailand could be stopped the matter of illicit drug produtcion along
the common borders could be eliminated," it said.
Myanmar is part of the infamous Golden Triangle opium growing region
and is blamed for producing much of the heroin consumed in Europe and
the United States.

Elements of its ethnic minorities are also said to be producing under
the benign gaze of the military vast quantities of amphetamine
tablets flooding 
Thailand and now making their way to markets in Europe.
As evidence of its sincerity in trying to stamp out amphetamines, the
commentary on Thursday said Myanmar anti-drugs authorities had seized
13 tons 
of precursor chemical ephedrine from China and India alone between
1996 and 1999.

It said 55 million stimulant tablets had been nabbed in that period.
So far this year 285 kilos (627 pounds) of ephedrine had been seized
on routes from India, the commentary added.

"It is regrettable that Myanmar is being unfairly singled out for
blame." The Yangon junta earlier this year launched a major drive to
convince the international community it was taking serious measures
to tackle the drugs trade.

Measures included flying two dozen foreign correspondents based in
Thailand to drug producing areas normally inaccessible to the media
and foreigners.

Officials said they were working with minorities to stamp out opium
production, while refusing to answer questions on the ballooning
amphetamines trade.



New Light of Myanmar

YANGON, 22 Feb - The No 13 Sugar Mill (Okkan) of Myanma Sugarcane
Enterprise at Gonnyindan village, Taikkyi Township, Yangon Division,
was commissioned into service this morning, attended by Secretary-2
of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Tin Oo.
Managing Director of MSE U Myo Myint reported on location of the
mill, completion and test run of the mill, sugarcane cultivation in
the surrounding areas, building of roads to ensure timely transport
of sugarcane to the mill, sugarcane purchase and requirements. 
Chairman of Yangon North District Peace and Development Council
Lt-Col San Matu and Chairman of Taikkyi Township Peace and
Development Council U Myint Than reported on sugarcane cultivation
and yield and sale of sugarcane to the mill. 
Minister Maj-Gen Nyunt Tin explained completion of the sugar mill,
existing sugar mills and new ones, sugarcane sown acreage and yield
of the region and sugarcane purchase. 
Officials of Fortune International Limited which is conducting
agriculture in Taikkyi Township presented progress in cultivating
Commander Maj-Gen Khin Maung Than and Ministers Brig-Gen Pyi Sone and
U Aung San gave suggestions on ensuring convenience in sugarcane
purchase and running of sugarcane mills at full capacity. 
Secretary-2 Lt-Gen Tin Oo said efforts should be made for the No 13
Sugar Mill (Okkan) to operate at full capacity; sugarcane should be
cultivated as projected; and the respective departments should render
assistance in distributing quality strains. 
Local authorities and officials of the mill should make concerted
efforts to ensure convenience in purchase and transport sectors. 
As the government is buying the produce from farmers at good prices,
they should sell sugarcane to the mill as targeted. 

The Secretary-2 presented a fruit basket to Chief Representative Ms
Luoyun of China National Agriculture and Construction Machinery
Import and Export Corporation of the People's Republic of China,
which brought in and installed the equipment at the mill. 
Lt-Gen Tin Oo and Ms Luoyun unveiled the signboard of the mill. 
Minister Maj-Gen Nyunt Tin and Ms Luoyun formally opened the mill by
cutting the ribbon. 

After launching the mill, the Secretary-2 and party inspected the
process of production. 
By using the doubling charcoal filtering system, the mill can produce
2,000 tons of 100 per cent white sugar daily. 



CHIANG MAI, Thailand, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The head of 
Thailand's anti-drugs agency in the northen Golden Triangle region
has dismissed claims by neighbouring Myanmar that a recent relocation
of opium growers was designed to cut drugs production.

Thamnu Sirisingha, director of Thailand's northern Narcotic Control
Office, told Reuters trafficking from neighbouring Myanmar was rising
and likely to continue to increase due to the relocation of Myanmar
ethnic Wa farmers closer to Thailand. 

Last month, Myanmar's military government heralded the
forced move of some 50,000 Wa opium growers from northern
Myanmar to closer towards the Thai border as a victory for drugs
suppression and said the farmers had now left the drugs business.

It said Wa hill farmers and their dependents were being
trucked more than 160 km (100 miles) south from homes along the
Chinese border to grow longans, a type of tropical fruit.

But Thamnu saw the relocation quite differently.
``The mass relocation plan of the Wa only means shifting the opium
production areas from the China border to the Thai border,'' Thamnu
said in an interview at his headquarters in the northern Thai city of
Chiang Mai.


``Narcotics trafficking from (Myanmar) Wa areas is more
active and increasing,'' Thamnu added. He said Myanmar's United Wa
State Army (UWSA) had moved its opium production closer to the Thai
border to take advantage of
logistics supplies for cultivation available in Thailand and
Thailand's better roads for drugs transportation.

He said Thai narcotics officials also suspected the UWSA was resuming
opium cultivation in areas that used to be controlled by Khun Sa, a
former opium warlord who gave himself up to Myanmar troops five years

``We believe the Wa people will again grow opium in the
areas that used to be under the control of Khun Sa,'' Thamnu said.

International narcotics agencies accuse the UWSA, which
signed a peace deal with the Myanmar government in 1990, of active
involvement in narcotics trafficking throughout the Golden Triangle,
where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.

The United Nations Drug Control Programme estimates that
about 1,200 tonnes of opium was produced in the Golden Triangle in
1999. Thamnu said Thailand had almost managed to eradicate its own
opium production, thanks to an intense crop substitution regime.

Combined efforts of the Thai army, police and drugs
officials had cut Thai opium output to just 500 kg (1,102
pounds) a year from more than 100 tonnes until 1984, he said.

``At this moment I can say we are totally in control of
opium production in our territory and have reduced output by more
than 99.5 percent,'' Thamnu said.

Since 1984, Thailand has made a concerted effort to stamp
out production of opium, from which heroin is made, and has enforced
crop substitution in its mountainous north.
Thamnu said the Thai drugs task force had destroyed more
than 800 hectares (1,977 acres) of opium poppy fields in 1999. He
estimated that another 640 hectares of poppy fields had been in use
in Thailand last year but said some of these fields had already been
eradicated this year.

Drugs officials estimate that about 1.8 kg (four pounds) of opium gum
can be produced from one hectare of poppies. It takes about 10 tonnes
of opium gum to make one tonne of heroin. 

Thamnu said that in 1984, the first year of the Thai opium
eradication project, only 5.47 percent of nearly 9,000 hectares of
opium fields were destroyed. Last year, more than 60 percent of 1,440
hectares of targeted opium fields were hit.

He said Thai forces had destroyed more than 500 hectares of opium
poppy fields since December 1999. ``Our concern is that we can put
controls on Thai output, but we have an uphill task to stop the flood
of narcotics from
our neighbours,'' he said.



BANGKOK, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Thai anti-narcotics police shot dead
three members of a suspected Myanmar drugs gang in the Golden
Triangle region of northern Thailand, police said on Thursday.

Acting on a tip-off, police were sent to intercept the
suspects in Samkok village in the jungles of Chiang Mai province near
the Myanmar border, a police spokesman told Reuters. Four suspects
showed up late on Wednesday and a brief gun battle ensued. Three
suspects, believed to be either ethnic Wa or Shan from Myanmar, were
killed and one of them escaped.

Police seized 2.4 kg (5.3 pounds) of heroin and 50,000
amphetamine tablets from the unidentified corpses.
International narcotics agencies accuse an autonomous group of Wa
rebels, the United Wa State Army, of active involvement in drugs
trafficking on the Golden Triangle, a mountainous jungle area where
the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.



"The Thai Military Has to Adjust Its Strategy to Cope with Threats" 

Bangkok Krungthep Thurakit in Thai 18 Feb 00 2 

Column by Phakphum Temasiri

[Translated from Thai by FBIS]     The arrest of a high-level Burmese
spy in Ranong Province and the detention of six Burmese army officers
in Nam Phiang Din precinct, Muang District of Mae Hong Son Province,
Thailand, for intrusion in the past week are being regarded as clear
signs of distrust between Thailand and Burma. 

    According to a Thai military intelligence report, several Burmese
agents disguised as ordinary people frequently sneaking into Thailand
to collect intelligence have been uncovered.   These arrests are
reported to the public, while some are not.   Many such incidents
have taken place lately due to a change of the situation along the
Thai-Burmese border. 

    Discussing the current situation along the Thai-Burmese border, a
high-level Thai military officer said Burma is actively sorting out
affairs along its border.   There is an indication that this will
successful in the near future because the many ethnic minority groups
hostile toward the Burmese Government are getting weaker every
passing day. The only ethnic groups that remain strong and active in
their struggle against the Burmese Government are the Christian Karen
under the 
leadership of the KNU [Karen National Union] and the free Mon
movement.   The armed units of other ethnic minority groups,
including the Karen God's Army, have already been smashed or have
surrendered to the Burmese military forces. 

    The current suppression drives of the Burmese Armed Forces
against the ethnic minority forces along the border have thus
narrowed the distance between the Thai and Burmese armed units.  
This is because the 
armed ethnic groups used to be a buffer between the armed forces of
the two countries along the entire border. 

    The same military officer went on to say that under the present
circumstances, what the Thai and Burmese Armed Forces are worried
most about is the unclear border line between the two countries, the
demarcation of which has not been completed yet.   Up to only 50 
kilometers of the 2,401-kilometer land and sea border between the two
countries have been demarcated by the two sides.   The rest have not
and may become a cause of conflict in the future. 

    "We are trying to speed up the demarcation of the 2,401-km long
border as soon as possible.   But the Burmese have not taken any
positive action so far.   That is why the process has been stalled.  
We think 
that if talks on the border demarcation can continue between the
border committees of the two countries, problems will not emerge.  
However, the Burmese side is still indifferent to the issue," said
the source, 
commenting on the talks that have been stalled for many years. 

    Due to this situation, the Thai Armed Forces see that it is
extremely necessary to send more reinforcements to the western
border.   In recent years, most Thai combat troops were stationed
only along the eastern borders with Laos and Cambodia, especially
during the Vietnamese 
withdrawal from Cambodia. 

    In the last 10 years, the Burmese military has markedly bolstered
its fighting capabilities with Chinese supplied arms.   It is well
known that China wants to expand its influence southward.   Between
1991 and 1992, 
the Burmese military reportedly stepped up the deployment of more
lethal weapons with the Chinese military aid, including 12 F-7
fighters, six (Hinab)-class frigates, 100 light and medium tanks, a
large number of armored personnel carriers, and several anti-aircraft

    In addition to military assistance from China, Burma also
received military aid from Yugoslavia and Poland, including a number
of G-4 (Super Galeb)[name rendered in English] fighters and some

    The same report added that in 1992 and 1993, Burma increased
recruitment into the armed forces, mainly the army.   In 1993 alone,
some 286,000 men were in active service--a 50-percent increase from
1988.   Almost all--265,000 to be exact--were drafted into the army. 

    The developments along the western border have posed a big
question for the Thai Armed Forces and the government whether to
regard the present situation along the Thai-Burmese border as a
threat to Thailand's 
sovereignty and security.   Even though the Thai Armed Forces may not
have analyzed the situation to such an extent, the answer to the
above question is that the situation has caused a certain degree of
among the authorities in charge of maintaining national security. 

    In addition to the land border problems, conflicts have also
frequently erupted along the sea border.   A Royal Thai Navy report
said the 3d Region Navy has been commissioned to monitor the
intrusion of foreign forces into Thailand's part of the Andaman Sea
bordering Burmese territorial waters.   Thai forces have also sent
reinforcements and stepped up patrols.   This is because they
anticipate that when the protracted fighting between the Burmese
military regime and the ethnic minority forces ends, Burma will
launch an offensive to occupy more territory in the Andaman Sea known
for its rich natural resources.   By then, it is certain that
conflicts may develop between Thailand and Burma.    Therefore, it is
necessary for the Thai Armed Forces to be prepared. 

    Any future conflict in the territorial waters in the Andaman Sea
will be confined between Thailand and Burma as they share a long
common sea border.   However, some military strategists have
cautioned that we must 
consider China's friendly gesture extended toward Burma in the past
decade.   China has openly expressed its desire to extend its
influence into the South China Sea, especially in contesting with
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines for the Spratlys and

    The military intelligence source said China's attempt to expand
its naval influence has been done in parallel with Burma's naval
expansion.   This can be seen from the following: China helping Burma
to build a naval 
base on the (Heng Gi) Island, the development of the naval bases in
Akyab and (Mergui) (south of the Kra Isthmus near the Thai border),
the renovation of the naval base and the installation of a radar
station on 
the Cocos Island (north of the Andaman Sea), the construction of an
electronics and signal intelligence sea station to monitor Indian
missiles and submarines in the Gulf of Bengal. 

    It has been speculated that China's massive military aid is in
exchange for the use of Burma's naval facilities for
rest-and-recreation and refueling, thus tremendously boosting the
capabilities of the Chinese 
fleet in the Gulf of Bengal to the hilt. 

    In terms of military might, especially the state of combat
readiness, the modernization of armaments both on the land and at
sea, and in the caliber of its manpower, Thailand is still far
superior to Burma.   In addition, it is obvious that China's attitude
toward Thailand is as 
friendly as what it is to Burma lately.   However, the changing
situation between Thailand and Burma is something the Thai Government
and Armed Forces cannot afford to neglect.   Therefore, it is very
interesting to 
keep a close watch and see what strategy the Thai Armed Forces will
design to safeguard the country's interests and sovereignty. 

Note: Data on the armaments and military manpower of the Burmese
Armed Forces mentioned in this story have been taken from a book
authored by Surachat Bamrungsuk in 2000.   [Surachat Bamrungsuk is a
professor on 
military affairs at Chulalongkon University]. 



January 2000

Vol 8 No 1

Dr. Myo Nyunt,an economist who has worked with the United Nations,
the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, examines the fate of
regimes that fail to recognize and respond to the forces of

What went wrong when the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the
Soviet Union collapsed in 1989? Was the problem one of ideology or

According to the economist Daniel Chirot, "The origin of the collapse
of Communism in East-Central Europe is deeply rooted in post-War
technological-economic changes"changes with which the countries of
the region were unable to compete. 

No single factor suffices to explain the ultimate downfall of
Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but this is not to
say that the "internal weakness of the system (which) played a major
role" in bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union was on a par
with the "international factors . . . of relevance," including
competition in technology.

What went wrong when the Asian economic miracle hit a wall in 1997?
The troubles in East Asia and earlier in Mexico were triggered by
large current-account deficits and difficulties in rolling over
short-term dollar debts. The rapid growth of the so-called miracle
economies of East Asia concealed structural weaknesses such as
inadequate regulation of banks and a lack of transparency in
business, which made the excessive borrowing of this era especially
dangerous. The resulting financial bubble ended in many conglomerates
going bankrupt, leaving domestic banks with a huge number of bad

Rocked by the financial crises in Mexico in 1995-96 and in Asia since
1997, international financial institutions have struggled to
formulate means of anticipating potential crises and containing them
when they occur. But in order to work out appropriate responses to
these problems, it is necessary to properly understand why such
crises occur in the first place. 


What went wrong in Eastern Europe? What went wrong in Mexico and
Asia? The answer to these questions can be summed up in one word:
"globalization". Globalization is the term that best captures the
profound transformation of the world economy since the beginning of
the 1980s. It refers primarily to the progressive elimination of
barriers to trade and investment and unprecedented international
mobility of capital. Governments around the world are adjusting their
economic policies to face the realities of trade liberalization and
integration into the new global market economy. Globalization also
refers to the rapidly improving communications and transportation
systems that have served to reduce distances between different
countries and regions, enabling not only a greater exchange of goods
and services but also of information between different countries.

The economic choices that all governments can make regarding their
own level of involvement in the economy and their own monetary and
fiscal policies are limited by international factors over which they
have no control. Governments around the world are adjusting their
economic policies to face the new realities of integration into the
new global market economy. We are inescapably part of a change that
demands a new focus. We have to review and restructure if necessary 
existing institutions to cope with the globalization process. When
our institutional patterns do not match the existing historical
system, crises arise. In all of the countries that have recently
found themselves in hot water, existing institutions lacked the
capacity to cope with the globalization process.

Now the economies of East and Southeast Asia are bouncing back to
almost everybody's surprise. Thailand has been praised by the
international community for sorting out its mess faster than other
countries in the region. Countries that adapt quickly to the
globalization process emerge from crises sooner; and it is worth
noting that just as globalization brought the Asian Tigers to their
knees, it has also helped them to recover. A consumer boom in the
United States absorbed exports from Asia, as goods became cheaper due
to the devaluation of Asian currencies. East Asia's woes made the
dollar strong and commodity prices weak, which helped to hold down
American inflation despite an economy running at full employment.
That, clearly, should be ascribed to good macroeconomic judgment, not

The obverse of globalization is localization, which is reactionary.
The greatest victim of globalization and the resultant erosion of the
nationstate is traditional politics. But there is a paradox that even
as the economy becomes global, politics remains national, as can
clearly be seen in the countries of Southeast Asia. 

Globalization is a threat to weak or capricious states, but for
adaptable states, it provides opportunities to foster economic
development. Unfortunately for Burma, the present regime clings to an
almost feudalistic notion of localization rather than allowing the
country to open up to achieve a new level of modernity. Existing
institutions in Burma are outdated and very vulnerable to the forces
of globalization. Therefore it seems quite certain that the collapse
witnessed in Eastern Europe will eventually occur in Burma as well.

Dr. David Dapice, associate faculty fellow of the Harvard Institute
for International Development, shares this assessment. In his report
on "Prospects for Sustainable Growth in Burma," prepared for the
United Nations Development Program, Dr. Dapice states that "Burma
will collapse under the pressure of the globalization process" unless
the country develops "a strong and effective legal system, and a set
of policies and institutions that engender confidence enough for
people to save in banks and invest in the future without fear that
they will, effectively, lose even if they succeed." Without a
government that is accountable for its actions, however, it is highly
unlikely that such policies and institutions will ever materialize.  



NEW DELHI, FEB. 23: Pegged at toughly $400 billions annually, the
illicit global drug trade is also responsible for the diversion of
nearly $ 150 billions to the mafias in Pakistan, according to a member
of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

"A sizable chunk of the illegal money also finds its way to opium
cultivators in Afghanistan, the world's largest producer of opium,"
and INCB member, Mr. Chinmay Chakrabarty, said here today after the
of the INCB's annual report for 1999.

The report expressed concern over the continued supply of opium from
South-West Asia and warned that it might increase as a result of the
record poppy harvests in Afghanistan. It is estimated the 4,6000
tonnes of opium, capable of yielding 460 tonnes of quality heroin,
was produced in Afghanistan last year.

Heroin manufacture has moved to Afghanistan from Pakistan, where it
has virtually disappeared. "The Board is concerned about this grave
situation, which affects not only West Asia, but also Europe and the
rest of the world," the report said. "Trafficking in raw opium and
heroin from North-Western Myanmar has been on the rise for the past
few years," it added.

Of concern to India is the new smuggling route leading from Myanmar
through the border States of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, mainly to
overseas markets. The report noted that new routes had been developed
following intensified law enforcement activities in China and
Thailand. "The illicit cultivation of opium poppy and the production
of opiates are also taking place in various parts of India and in
Nepal," it said.

On legal opium production in India, the INCB noted with concern that
there had been reports of fraud involving licensed poppy growers
whereby the growers had reported less crop yield to the authorities
and then
sold to drug traffickers the difference between the actual and the
reported crop yield.

While cannabis and opium have traditionally been the main drugs of
abuse, the use of heroin and synthetic drugs was rapidly increasing.
However, the abuse of stimulants ? cocaine and ecstasy ? appears to
be limited, the INCB report said.

Certain areas in South Asia had emerged as major drug trafficking
centres and had witnessed rapid deterioration of trafficking or
abuse. These areas included the Chittagong port in Bangladesh, the
North-Eastern part of India, in particular Manipur, Mizoram and
and the Indo-Pakistan border areas, as well as Mumbai and Delhi...

The regional representative of the U.N. Drug Control Programme
(UNDCP), Ms. Renate Ehmer, said that as India, Bangladesh, Bhutan,
Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka were wedged between the two main opium-
areas ? Afghanistan and Myanmar ? there was rise in drug abuse in
these countries.




Feb. 2000


Dozens of businesses big and small have pulled out of Burma.  One of
the few left are big wealthy oil companies fixed on the Yadana
pipeline.  Will they ever stop?  What have they been doing lately?  
 Post message: burmaoil@xxxxxxxxxxx  
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List owner: burmaoil-owner@xxxxxxxxxxx  
Hundreds of thousands of refugees are being driven into neighboring
Thailand, India, Bangladesh, and China.  Discuss the most needed aid
and the best way to provide it.  What's the UNHCR doing?  What's the
latest policy of the Thai govt?  Want to change it?   Visiting
Thailand soon?  Ask these folks what to take and how to help.  
 Post message: burmarefugees@xxxxxxxxxxx  
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Burma provides half the world's heroin.  The Generals use the money
to buy more guns.  Can it be stopped?   Controlled?  Drug addiction
inside Burma is soaring.  What can be done? 
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Women's Issues 
Rape, prostitution, aids, severe absence of healthcare for themselves
and their children.  There're plenty of problems to discuss.  But the
strong women of Burma weather it all, finding unique ways for their
families and villages to survive in the city, the jungle, the border,
and abroad. 
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Heroin + poverty + prostitution + ignorance = a very big AIDS
problem.  The paranoid military govt makes it impossible to get
accurate figures, much less provide aid or education, but estimates
of HIV infection are ominous.  
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Schools and universities have been shut for seven out of ten years
between 1988-98.  The future of Burma is at stake - thousands of
Burmese youth, have, for decades been denied reasonable hope for
bettering their lives. Education is the most basic right that
citizens of any country should be accorded. 
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Green (environment) 
Burma's natural beauty is exquisite.  But down to their last dime,
the junta has no time to care for the environment.  Roads, pipelines,
and pollution are moving in.  What can be done before it's too late? 
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Regional: Canada 
Canadian Friends of Burma 
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All correspondence is in french. 
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BurmaNet adds:

The Burma Courier is a weekly digest of Burma news and commentary.
News, comments and letters from readers are welcomed. To subscribe or
unsubscribe contact <celsus@xxxxxxxxx> Hardcopy edition is also
available to readers in Canada who don't have access to email.
P.O.Box 30128, 8602 Granville St., Vancouver BC  Canada V6P 6S3



February 24, 2000

February 7th: Indonesias President Wahid will visit Brussels, Belgium.

 February 7-11th		: Activists to Hold Week-long Vigil to Draw
Attention to Burma's Plight, Washington. Contact Jeremy Woodrum, Free
Burma Coalition: 202/387-8030 or Dan Beeton, Washington, DC Burma
Activist Network: 202/625-6421

February 12th: National Union Day in Burma (Official)

February 18th : Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will visit India and

February 25-26th: 4th  ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting, Bandar Seri
March 2nd : Anniversary of 1962 Coup and Farmers Day 
March 8th: International Women's Day 

March 10-12th : Days of Prays for Burma.

March 16-31st:ILO 277th Session of the Governing Body and its
committees, Geneva
March 18th : "Bloddy Friday" (1988)
March 13th: Burma Human Rights Day (Unofficial)

March 22nd: Rally for the Massachusetts Burma Law, Supreme Court
Building, USA.

March 20th ? 28th April: 56th session of the Commission on Human
Rights, Geneva
March 25-26th : 4th  ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting, Bandar Seri
March 27th: Resistance Day in Burma

March 31 ? April 3rd: Free Burma! A Conference on Freedom, Human
Rights, and Activism,  Washington DC. Contact: Jer

April 29-30th	: Nordic Burma Studies Group, Göteborg
April 30th ? May 6th : 103rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference, Amman

May 1-5th: World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and
May 24th : Ne Win's birthday (1911)
May 27th	: Anniversary of the 1990 election

May 30th- June 15th	:88th Session of the International Labour
Conference, Geneva

June 5-9th:Beijing +5 Review, UN, New York

June 6th	:278th Session of the Governing Body, Geneva

June 18th: Fundraising benefit at the Royal Court Theatre, London
June 19th : Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday and Burmese Women's Day

June 24th: Burma Solidarity Meeting, Dublin

July 7th	: Commemoration of bombing of student union and shooting in

July 19th : Martyrs Day (Official)

July 24-25th: 33rd  ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), Bangkok

July 27th: 7th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Bangkok
July 28-29th: 33rd ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC), Bangkok

August 8th : 12th Anniversary of the 8-8-88 uprising 

September 18th: Anniversary of SLORC Coup, 1988

September 24th: National League for Democracy formed 1988

October	: 104th Inter-Parliamentary Conference, Jakarta

November 2-17th:279th Session of the Governing Body and its
committees, Geneva

February 24, 2000
Place Temperature Humidity Pressure Conditions Updated
Bhamo	78° F / 26° C36%	1013 hPa	Clear 
Dawei	92° F / 33° C57%	1011 hPa	Haze 
Hkamti	74° F / 23° C41%-			Partly Cloudy 
Homalin	76° F / 24° C47%1015 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Kalewa	80° F / 27° C22%1013 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Katha	77° F / 25° C52%1012 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Kengtung	79° F / 26° C29%1010 hPa	Partly Cloudy 
Kyaukpyu	81° F / 27° C57%1012 hPa	Partly Cloudy 
Lashio	80° F / 27° C25%1009 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Mandalay	84° F / 29° C33%1013 hPa	Partly Cloudy 
Meiktila	84° F / 29° C23%1012 hPa	Clear 
Mergui	86° F / 30° C68%1011 hPa		Haze 
Mindat	72° F / 22° C30%-			Partly Cloudy 
Monywa	84° F / 29° C44%1013 hPa		Clear 
Myitkyina	78° F / 26° C29%1013 hPa	Haze 
Prome	93° F / 34° C30%1012 hPa		Haze 
Sandoway	91° F / 33° C51%1011 hPa	Partly Cloudy 
Sittwe	80° F / 27° C47%1010 hPa		Haze 
Toungoo	91° F / 33° C27%1010 hPa		Clear 
Victoria Point 77° F / 25° C91%1010hPa	Haze
Yangon	N/A° F / -N/A-				Partly Cloudy 


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