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Subject: [theburmanetnews] The BurmaNet  News: June 18, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

June 18, 2000

Issue # 1556

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:


*Inside Burma




















__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________


June 17, 2000

According to a report received by S.H.A.N. during the last week of 
May, a meeting between drug operators was held in Mongton under the 
auspices of a junta official. 
The meeting, presided over by Capt Kyaw Myint, Company 1, IB 65 
(Mongton), was convened at the Battalion command post on 18 May and 
was attended by 10 "representatives" from both sides of the border, 
1. "Lao Wu", 47, Banmai Nawngbua, Chaiprakarn District, Chiangmai 
2. "Lao Yung", 49, San Makawkwarn, Fang District, Chiangmai 3. "Lao 
Koi", 51, Wawi, Mae Suay District Chiangrai 
4. Janu, 47, Nawngphai, Mawngpin Tract, Fang District, Chiangmai  5. 
Jala, 41, Nawngphai, Mawnpin Tract Fang District, Chiangmai  6. Jawu, 
44, n.a. 
7. Jashay, 47, n.a. 
8. Li Hsien, 50, Huey Khailong, Mongton 
9. Johnny, 40, Wa representative 
10. Capt. Kyaw Myint, Junta representative 

According to the "resolutions", the buyers from across the border 
would purchase their "commodities" from Li Hsien and Johnny, both of 
whom would set identical prices; security from the place of purchase 
to the border would be handled by the army; and, if the participants 
of the meeting could find other buyers, they would also receive a 
Refineries in the area had the capacity to produce 5,000,000 pills of 
amphetamines and 30 blocks of heroin each moth for sale, according to 
Capt. Kyaw Myint.  

Reported by: Maihoong 



June 18, 2000

The population in Mongton has been on the increase since outsiders 
drawn by the local commanders' policy of indulgence, have been moving 
into the area to clear land for the next poppy season, said sources 
from across the border. 

People from Taunggyi and Loilem districts have been swarming by the 
hundreds to warlord Khunsa's former "Free Territory" west of Mongton 
during the last month and busy preparing new poppy fields from 
Mongkyawt and Monghe to Sankang and Khailong, they said. 

The new commander in Mongkyawt, Capt Aung Myint, Company 3, IB 225, 
who recently replaced Capt Thein Win, Commander Company 5, IB 65, was 
reported to have his junior officers informed the populace that 
poppies would be allowed to grow at the tax rate of 0.30 viss (1 viss 
= 1.6 kilogram) per acre and each family was expected to work at 
least 3 acres. 

The price of rice is also rising high, at B. 20 per liter, which is 
more than twice the price along the border communities in Thailand, 
said sources. "But these people don't mind, because they are being 
financed by the Chinese 'pawliang's (bosses)," said one source. 

The area, especially Mongkyawt and Monghe, was once depopulated when 
the war between Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army and Rangoon was at its height 
in 1994. Due to the extrajudicial killings and other abuses by the 
junta troops, hundreds had fled into Thailand. 
Reported by: Seng Khao Haeng


___________________________ REGIONAL ___________________________



17 Jun 2000 

Series of meetings ahead as bloc seeks to extend its global political 

>From Shada Islam in Brussels 

RELATIONS with Asia are back on the European Union's crowded foreign 
policy agenda as the 15-nation bloc seeks to extend its global 
political reach. Meetings with Asean, India and members of Asem, the 
process of Asia Europe Meetings launched in 1996, will be held in 
Lisbon from June 26-28, followed in July by summit talks with 

Portugal, current president of the EU, has laboured hard to put 
relations with Asean back on track. After months of diplomatic 
efforts, a meeting of EU and Asean officials has been scheduled for 
Lisbon on June 26-27 to relaunch region-to-region political talks. 

Preparations are also under way to hold long-awaited ministerial 
talks between the two groups, probably in Laos, just after the Asem 
summit in Seoul on Oct 20-21. 

Political contacts between the EU and Asean have been at a standstill 
for the last three years following Myanmar's entry into Asean. 
However, diplomats say there is growing recognition in both regions 
that it is time to push EU-Asean relations forward despite 
disagreements over Myanmar. 

As such, representatives from Myanmar will be attending the meeting 
in Lisbon and the ministerial dialogue in Laos despite the EU policy 
of economic sanctions against the country. 

EU insiders say Britain and The Netherlands, which were initially 
hostile to political contacts with Myanmar, have agreed to 
participate in meetings attended by Myanmar diplomats and its foreign 
minister, following a recent EU decision to toughen sanctions against 
Yangon. The new sanctions package includes a comprehensive blacklist 
of some 200 of Myanmar's military leaders who are banned from 
travelling to Europe. But EU insiders say no such restrictions are in 
force for either Myanmar's foreign minister or diplomats from the 

"Essentially the EU has taken an important decision to delink its 
policy towards Myanmar from its wider desire to have closer relations 
with Asean," an official stressed. 

But Myanmar can be expected to be quizzed in detail about both its 
economic difficulties and continuing refusal to open a dialogue with 
pro-democracy forces, say sources. A delegation of EU officials is 
expected to visit Yangon in September as part of the union's policy 
of trying to maintain a discussion on human rights with the 




Saturday June 17 11:27 AM ET 

BEIJING (AP) - The United States' senior anti-drug policy-maker 
arrived Saturday in China to forge strategies for combating drug 
trafficking and setting up effective treatment programs.  
Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House National Drug Control 
Policy Office, is the first U.S. ``drug czar'' to visit China. His 
five-day stay, months in the making, comes just ahead of Secretary of 
State Madeleine Albright's stopover in Beijing next week.  

The two visits are part of intensifying diplomacy between the United 
States and China, whose relations have only slowly recovered from the 
U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia 13 months ago. But 
the missions also underscore the difficulties in reviving ties.  

Over two days of meetings in Beijing with China's national police 
force, McCaffrey said he hopes to broaden cooperation in law 
enforcement, sharing intelligence on trafficking in heroin and 
methamphetamines and exchanging experiences on treatment programs.  

To advance that effort, he will tour a treatment center in Kunming, 
capital of southwestern Yunnan, ``an embattled frontier province that 
is a gateway for the massive amounts of heroin ... that are produced 
in Burma,'' McCaffrey said shortly after arriving in Beijing... 

``This drug issue has such profound impact on allies who are 
important for other reasons: because their political, economic future 
is vital to regional stability,'' McCaffrey said. ``Standing with 
China will pay huge benefits to the region and therefore indirectly 
to the United States.''  
McCaffrey, who will also visit Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand, 
described trafficking networks in the region as organized, complex 
and international...
Yang Fengrui, director of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security's 
anti-drug office, reported in March that China had 681,000 drug 
addicts last year, a 14 percent increase over the year before.  
While believed to underestimate the problem, the figure shows China's 
growing problems with drugs. Using harsh measures, the government 
wiped out rampant opium addiction in the first decades of communist 
rule. But drug abuse returned over the last 20 years as free-market 
reforms brought increased trade and travel.  

Yang, the Chinese official, raised an alarm in March over a surge in 
drug trafficking into China from Southeast Asia. Last year, he said, 
police confiscated 5.3 tons of heroin and 16 tons of methamphetamine, 
also called ``ice.'' The amount of ``ice'' seized was 10 times higher 
than the previous year...  



June 18, 2000.
Farmers say Thai forces not protective

Subin Khuenkaew
Doi Lang, Chiang Mai

Farmers living near this disputed t border hilltop complain that the 
military is failing to protect them from Burmese soldiers who are 
raiding their plantations with impunity. 
Their patience is wearing thin.

The thefts have been going on for four years and are becoming more 
frequent. Local authorities are fully aware of the situation but have 
taken no action to stop it, villagers said. 
Thailand and Burma have both deployed troops at Doi Lang.

But both countries have agreed not to use force to settle the dispute 
over sovereignty of the 32-sq km hilltop which was once the 
stronghold of drug warlord Khun Sa. 
A villager at nearby Ban Pang Ton Dua said the situation could not be 
allowed to continue as their livelihood was being affected. 

"The Burmese soldiers regularly come and steal lychees and tea leaf 
from our plantation. 
"Sometimes there are five, six or seven of them, all carrying 

"We have been suffering from this for four years and it has gone 
beyond the point of toleration," said the villager, who refused to be 

Ban Pang Ton Dua residents said many of them had business loans from 
the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives and the 
thefts were affecting their ability to repay. 
"We really are suffering but no one seems to be helping us," said a 

The most recent, and blatant, raid occurred on Friday, when local 
authorities organised an evacuation drill for 400 villagers in the 
area.  "We were busy taking part in the drill when the Burmese 
sneaked in and stole all our tea leaves," said a villager. 

Maj-Gen Somboonkiat Sitthidecha, commander of the Pha Muang task 
force, conceded that the problem existed.  But he said he had given 
orders it must be settled peacefully.  The Burmese troops had a 
serious food shortage, he said.

He was in contact with the Burmese commander, and most of the time 
the miscreant soldiers were heavily punished, Maj-Gen Somboonkiat 
said.  He denied the military had sat idly by while the thefts 
occurred.  Thai soldiers interviewed by the Bangkok Post said they 
feared the problem would get worse if the border dispute was not 
settled soon. 

Each side has deployed more than 1,000 troops in the area.  The 
villagers have begun hiring armed guards to protect their 
property.  "With everyone holding weapons in their hands, an accident 
could happen anytime," said an officer.  



 June 17, 2000 

Supamart Kasem in Tak and Anucha Charoenpho in Bangkok

The presence of 150,000 Burmese workers and refugees in Tak has put 
malaria at the top of a list of serious communicable diseases in the 

Deputy Public Health Minister Kamron na Lamphun said the presence of 
the workers was a factor in the spread of epidemic diseases including 
malaria since many of them were carriers. 
"The most serious communicable disease is malaria. Last year, there 
were more than 83,000 malaria patients, of which 50,000 were Burmese.
"The infection ratio per population was 90.44:1,000. This was the 
highest in the country and there was a tendency that the germs would 
be more resistant to medicines," Mr Kamron said. 

He said there were 60,000 refugees at shelters in Tha Song Yang, Phop 
Phra and Umphang, 35,000 workers at 115 industrial factories in five 
border districts and seasonal immigrants. 

"In terms of population density, Mae Sot district is considered a 
district that has more aliens than Thais.""These people [aliens] are 
packed in residences with poor sanitary conditions which allow the 
disease to spread," Mr Kamron said. 

Yesterday he visited several hospitals in three border districts of 
Tak to gather information about health and environmental problems and 
the spread of communicable diseases. 

Dr Withaya Sawatwuthipong of Mae Sot hospital said disease 
observations during 1997-1999 showed that malaria ranked top in terms 
of the number of patients and cause of death in Tak, followed by 
diarrhoea, severe diarrhoea, TB, Aids, measles and tetanus. 

__________________ INTERNATIONAL __________________


Friday, June 16, 2000


The United Nations cultural arm has shocked critics of Burma's 
military regime by becoming involved in a seminar to promote 
tourism.  "This is wholly unacceptable. It's outrageous. What can 
they be thinking of," said Yvette Mahon of Burma Campaign UK.  

The furore erupted after the ruling junta announced on Tuesday that 
it would host a seminar in Rangoon next week on "safeguarding" 
cultural heritage and the tourism industry. The junta said it would 
be held "in co-operation" with the United Nations Educational, 
Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).  

Western human rights organisations have mounted a vigorous campaign 
to persuade tourists to shun Burma, citing opposition leader Aung San 
Suu Kyi's warnings that the bulk of tourists' money goes "straight 
into the pockets of the generals".  

The anti-tourist campaign can claim some success since visitor 
arrivals remain pitifully low, although poor facilities may also be a 

"Anyone who promotes tourism in Burma must do so in flagrant 
disregard of the human rights abuses involved," said Lara Marsh of 
Tourism Concern, a British-based holiday watchdog.  
UN agencies are usually careful to only provide humanitarian 
assistance inside Burma.  
The regional adviser for culture in Asia and the Pacific, Richard 
Engelhardt, said the news was a surprise to him: "I was not 
consulted," he said. Other UN officials said privately that Burma's 
military regime was keen to rope in international organisations to 
bolster its legitimacy.  

Unesco has exposed itself to criticism at a time when the anti-tour 
crusade has hotted up, with last month's call for the boycott of the 
Lonely Planet guides until the Burma publication is withdrawn.

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________


S U N D A Y, J U N E 1 8 . 2000


The business sector in Kanchanaburi has teamed up with provincial 
authorities to push for the opening of more border trade points to 
exploit the potential in Burma. But they are facing an uphill climb. 

Frustrated by the long delays in the government's border development 
plans, local business circles have accused certain state agencies of 
obstructing development and growth. 
A case in point is Hay Mong/Ban Bonti in Saiyok district. The local 
Industrial council has long pushed for a permanent  checkpoint to 
facilitate a trade route to Tavoy in Burma, where many development 
projects are underway. A deep sea port is to be built and some Thai 
entrepreneurs have been granted concessions for tin mining. 

Yet, the area, located in tambon Ban Bonti, is classified as Grade 1A 
watershed. In addition, the government insists border conflicts in 
the area are yet to be settled. 

But Prateep Pongwittayapanu, local businessman and secretariat of the 
Provincial Chamber of Commerce, strongly disagrees. Like many 
business people, he sees Kanchanaburi becoming the gateway not only 
to Tavoy but to the India sub-continent, the Middle East and 
ultimately Europe. 
"Government agencies are merely obstructing development and growth. 
The locals on both sides of the border have crossed  Huay Mong to 
trade with one another for more than a century," he says. 

There are several frontier points on the requested opening-list. The 
local Industrial Council and the Chamber of Commerce say the 
permission will promote trade, tourism and industrial development. 

Other provincial and district agencies such as the livestock 
department believe they can stem the cattle and buffalo smuggling.  

But debate over the prospects of each area continues as some fear 
several lush forests will be destroyed if the ' proposals get the  
green light. For example, concerns have been raised that the opening 
of around 30 frontier points along Kanchanaburi's 370-kilometrelong 
border- will worsen drug and livestock smuggling from Burma and 
Bangladesh. At present, most trade in the area is small-scale. 	

Huay Mong/Ban Bonti is one of the four main crossings in the province 
which entrepreneurs believe should be granted permission to open as 
either temporary or permanent checkpoints. Others are: 

ò Three Pagoda Pass in Sangklaburi district. At present, the volume 
of trade in the area is small and it serves mainly as a temporary 
checkpoint for tourism. However, the provincial committee is 
conducting a feasibility study to develop it into a permanent 
checkpoint in the near future.  ò Ban Hin Kong ( E-tong) in Thong Pha 
Phum district where the Thai-Burmese Yadana gas pipeline lies. The 
province wants the border opened as a trade pass. But the Burmese 
government opposes the idea for fear of the pipeline being 
sabotaged.  ò Ban Mae Thamee or Ban Nam Pu Ron in Muang district. 
This crossing was chosen after efforts to open Huay Mong/Bonti 
failed. The House Committee on Tourism and Industry in western 
provinces granted permission to facilitate trade with Tavoy.  The 
area is considered quite suitable being only 75km from town with 
adequate infrastructure, particularly roads. The land is also flat, 
not mountainous as in many border areas. The area is also considered 
to have potential for trade and tourism. 
Yet, local business circles prefer Huay Mong/Bonti. However, 
considerable investment would be needed for road construction. 


Entrepreneurs are getting impatient with the government's lack of 
enthusiasm for exploiting Burma's great economic potential. Officials 
have only included Three Pagodas Pass and Ban Nam Pu Ron as main 
crossings in the province in their urgent plan for development. Other 
regions include Chong Mek in Sirinthorn district in the northeastern 
province of Ubon Ratchathani and Sa Dao in Sadoa district in the 
southern province of Songkhla.  

>From a tourist point of view, the busiest points are Three Pagoda 
Pass and Wat Wiwekaram of Laung Poh Uttama which together received a 
total of 50,417 visits in 1999. At the same time, some 10.8 billion 
baht worth of exports passed through from Burma. 

A committee was recently set up to map out a tourism development plan 
for the area. One particular project was the renovation of a wooden 
bridge across the Songalia River. Yet, Mr Prateep says local 
entrepreneurs fell the pass should be made into a permanent 
checkpoint as soon as possible. 				

"I don't understand why it has not been made a permanent crossing 
like Mae Sot in Tak. From a geographic point of view, Three Pagodas 
Pass through many advantages. The route to Burma is more convenient. 
We don't have t pass through mountainous areas like there are in Mae 
Sot, so heavy goods such as construction materials can be 
transported," he says. 

Provincial authorities say the disputed border is one of the main 
obstacles hampering concrete developments in the area. But Prateep 
argues that the problem should not be allowed to obstruct progress. 

"The Thai government should persist with negotiations for mutual 
benefit," he says. 
Local business circles have several times suggested the establishment 
of trade zones which can help settle conflicts over both borderlines 
and ethnic minorities in the area. 

Other main benefits from trade zones include income from taxes and 
future investors on both sides. Part of the earnings can be used for 
further development and welfare.
Looking to the future, Mr Prateep and other businessmen from the 
Provincial Industrial Council say the Three Pagoda Pass can be 
developed into a industrial zone if a sea port is constructed at Koh 
Kale Kok in Burma . The port would become a major transportation 
route to the Andaman Sea, inter national markets in South Asian 
countries and even further afield to the Middle East and Europe. 

"Koh Kale Kok, like our Si Chang Island, is suitable for 30,000-
40,000-tonne cargo ships. These liners can carry goods for Southeast 
Asia and South Asia and cross to Rangoon and so on," he says. 

Rangoon has already granted concessions to the Mon minority to build 
roads in the area. But due to economic recession two years ago, Power 
P. Company, a Thai sub-contractor, withdrew from the project  causing 
The road  from the Three Pagoda Pass to Koh Kale Kok will save time 
and expense. Goods can be transported a shorter distance from Kok 
Tale Kuak sea  port to the Andaman Sea. 
A study of the Savoy deeps port by the Kanchanaburi lndustrial 
Council notes that, compared with journeys through the Malacca 
Straits, Tavoy can save 20% of shipping costs and six days at sea on 
journeys to Europe. Tavoy is also equipped to accommodate 200,000-
tonne cargo vessels. 


Tavoy has long been touted as a new trade route. The National 
Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has looked into a 
possible connection between Kancharnaburi and Tavoy as one of three 
proposed land bridge schemes. The others are Mae Hong Son-Laos, and a 
Sahaviriya Group project in Prachaub Khiri Khan. 

Kanchanaburi has prepared itself for a permanent checkpoint According 
to a city planning official, a community city plan of Ban Nampu Ron 
has recently been drafted. The plan covers 16,880 rai of military 
reserves. Border villages have been built on the western side of the 
Kwai Noi River. The lush forest is rich with natural resources, 
including minerals and water. Most villagersmainly Thais, Karen and 
Mon are farmers and cattle raisers. 

But the official warns that the opening up of the forest may lead to 
deforestation. Weaving bamboo for wickerwork is abundant in the area 
and this can encourage illegal cutting. More importantly, the land is 
located in an earthquake area. 

Local business circles, however, want more speedy action from the 
government to get the development moving. They say the projects are 
urgently needed and ask why they should still be subjected to 
unnecessarily long delays. 

"The provincial authority should be given full authority to open 
necessary checkpoints. A fuller development plan and implementation 
cam follow," recommends Mr Prateep. 


Although permission has been granted by the house Committee on 
Tourism and Industry to go ahead with the opening of the checkpoint 
at Ban Nampu Ron, the proposal has yet to be considered by several 
other local agencies. 

Meanwhile, the debates about the suitability of various proposed 
sites continues to rage. Some businessmen say they are unconvinced 
that Ban Nampu Ron will be convenient and safe enough for goods 

Sompong Chawantanpipat, chairman of Ranong Chamber of Commerce, says 
he prefers Ban Huay Mong of Bonti. He insists the Tavoy-Ban Nampu Ron 
idea will only be possible if a bridge crossing the Tanao Si River in 
Burma is built. 

But the river in the area is very deep and such a bridge would be 
hugely expensive. 
Mr Sompong, who has been granted a tin mining concession in Tavoy, 
says the Burmese authorities also support the Hauy Mong/Bonti route 
since minority groups in the area are under their control. In lower 
areas, there are dangers from minority groups and safety cannot be 

But according to the Kanchanaburi Industrial Council, the 124-km 
stretch from Ban Nampu Ron to Tavoy is safe from attacks by ethnic 
minorities as Karen troops have been moved to a new location opposite 
Ratchaburi. From Ban Nampu Ron across the border to the Tanao Si 
River on the Burmese side is a distance of some 16 km. From the Tanao 
Si River to Ban Metta, where they have to cross the river, is another 
70 km, and it's another 43 km to Tavoy. 

To facilitate the trade route, the Burmese government has built 
several villages and government outposts in the area. 
Yet, Mr Sompong insists that the Huay Mong/Bonti-Tavoy route is more 
convenient. He says there is a road from the Kaiwa crossing. At the 
same time, a survey has already been conducted for a possible road 
from Ban Metta to Tavoy without having to build a bridge. 
Despite Mr Sompong's request for a review of the Bonti checkpoint, 
the provincial authority and members of Kanchanaburi Industrial 
Council say they should concentrate on what they can do now. To go 
back to Huay Mong/ Bonti would mean starting again from scratch. The 
Council says that the road from Tavoy to Ban Nampu Ron is the most 
suitable to build. More significantly, there will be no problem with 
forestry regulations at Ban Nampu Ron since the land belongs to the 

But Mr Sompong wonders whether the Burmese authorities will agree to 
the alternative route. According to his concession agreement, the 
goods must be transported through the Huay Mong /Bonti crossing. 

Last February, Mr Sompong told a provincial committee meeting on 
border development that there are 40-50 tonnes of tin in his mines in 
Tavoy. However, due to transportation difficulties, he will only be 
able to take about 5.2 tonnes  worth about US$10,000through 
Kanchanaburi to smelters in Phuket. 

Since the Ban Nampu Ron border crossing has not yet been opened as a 
checkpoint, Mr Prateep says Mr Sompong wil] instead have to bring his 
tin through a border checkpoint in Ranong. As such, both investors 
and the province stand to lose considerable business opportunities. 
"Investor should be able to save transportation time and costs and 
the province should earn taxes," he says. 


Meanwhile, illegal  cross-border trade continues along the 
Kanchanaburi-Burma border, costing the authorities considerable loss 
of customs and excise taxes. What's more, the illegal trade affects 
the safety and wellbeing of villagers in the area. 

The province reports continuous smuggling of cows and buffaloes from 
Burma, mainly through mountainous and thickly forested border 
crossings in Thong Pha Phurn and Saiyok districts. 

The districts have proposed the opening of the checkpoints to put an 
end to the illicit trade. And in addition to earning more taxation, 
legalising the trade would help prevent spread of livestock diseases, 
they add. 

The proposed crossings include Khoa Pla Noi and Toadam forest in 
Saiyok district, Pa Suk in Thong Phu Phum district, Hok Pan Rai and 
Morakha, Anamai and Ban Ton Yang in Sanghlaburi district.
Sangkhla Buri district reports that a large number of cows and 
buffaloes have been brought into the country through many crossings. 

Last year some 24,050 cows and buffaloes worth 71.9 million baht were 
brought into Kanchanaburi, earning the province about five million 

However, a large number of cattle are also believed to have been 
smuggled through other crossings. Border checkpoints are expected to 
help stamp out the illegal trade.  
Similarly, the Ban Ton Ban crossing can be upgraded into a trade 
pass. At present, villagers here engage in trade on a minor scale. 
Consumer products are sold by Thai merchants, while cows, buffaloes, 
rattan and seafood are imported from Burma. 

Once the area is upgraded into a trade pass, the local authority 
expects trade to increase considerably. It will also encourage 
tourism. It will open a route to Maung Ye, one of Burma's main 
tourist areas about 60km from the Thai border. 

District authorities suggest that the Three Pagoda pass should also 
be upgraded into a permanent checkpoint. Again, trade volumes are 
quite small so far and villagers pay no tax. If trade were to expand 
and more investors came, the authorities would be able to collect 
substantial taxes. 

Nevertheless, concerns over deforestation persist. Environmentalists 
cite the disastrous impact on forests of the Yadana gas pipeline 
project. A large tract of Saiyok national park has been destroyed, 
they say. Other cases of deforestation in the name of development 
include the Taodam and Khao Pla Noi crossings in national parks. 
Opening yet more border checkpoints, particularly in watershed areas 
and national parks can only damage the forests vet more. 

Thai investors target Burma

During the past few years, Thai investors have proposed several big 
projects in Burma, which they say is about to become a hot trade and 
investment zone. 

The projects include:

1. A deepsea port and industrial estate at Mugui-Tavoy in southern 

2. Construction of a 10-km BontiAmno road. Bonti is in Kanchanaburi 
and    Amno in Burma. 

3. Construction of highway No 88, a 43-km road linking Ban Metta to 
Tavoy    in Burma. 

4. Construction of a bridge across the Tanao Si River on the Burmese 

5. The Sahaviriya Group has conducted a feasibility study for the 
Golden    Gateway project which involves construction of a bridge 
from Bang Saphan    district in Prachuab Khiri Khan to a deepsea port 
in Burma. 

6. Power P Company plans to construct a 90-km road from the Three 
Pagoda    Pass in Kanchanaburi to a deepsea port in Kok Tale Kuak, 


Vol.2   15 June 2000    No.23

The Ministry of Commerce held its first four-monthly meeting for the 
year  2000 on 13 June. Speaking on the occasion, Secretary-2 of the 
State Peace and  Development Council Lt.-Gen. Tin Oo explained the 
State's policy in relation  to the functions of the ministry, which 
was reformed to carry out tasks in a  consolidated way in accord with 
the new economic policy.

    Thirty-five per cent of the nation's GDP is from the agriculture 
sector  and 21 per cent is from the trade sector. The national 
economic growth was  five per cent in 1996-97 which was the initial 
year of the five-year national  economic plan, five per cent in 1997-
98, 6.3 per cent in 1998-99 and 9.6 per  cent in 1999-2000; thus the 
nation enjoyed a 6.47 per cent annual average  economic growth which 
exceeded the projected economic growth of five per  cent. The private 
sector participation also reached 77.2 per cent of the  national 
trade sector in 1999-2000 up from 66.00 percent in 1988-89. The  
nvestments of the private sector increased to 77.00 per cent of the 
total  investment capital of the nation in 1999-2000 up from 41.9 
percent in  1988-89.



[BurmaNet adds?The Myanmar Information Committee comes under the 
jurisdiction of the regime's Minister of Information, who is also 
director of the Psychological Warfare Department]

June 18, 2000

    This office is presenting the reply letter "A response to Mr. 
Josef  Silverstein's open letter to Myanmar Embassy in London which 
appeared in the  Nation of 7th June 2000 " for your reading pleasure.

Dear Sir,

    The response to the open letter addressed to us from a '' Burma 
Expert"  need not be very elaborate. It was the election commission 
composed of four  highly respected civilian citizens who drew up the 
election laws of 1990 and  defined as to who qualified to stand for 
the election although it was the  government of the State Law and 
Order Restoration Council that formed the  commission and declared 
it's objectives for the election.

    It was considered by most at that time that the election laws of 
1947  (which was electing a"parliament", or more correctly 
a "Hluttaw", for the  then multiparty political system), more 
relevant for adaptation than the laws  of 1974 which was meant for 
electing a Hluttaw, relevant to the single party  political system 
that was to be adopted. It is therefore clearly a futile  exercise 
now to rest any argument in his or her favour by mixing up the two  
constitutions and drawing justifications purely on legal and 
political  grounds.

    For example, would the United States, to which the expert 
apparently  belong, elect anyone married to an oriental citizen and 
lived abroad for  thirty years to suddenly return home and assume the 
Presidency especially  when the " First Spouse" and the children are 
foreign citizens? 
    Be that as it may, laws were drawn up for the 1990 elections to 
which the  political parties apparently agreed, otherwise they would 
not have  participated.

    The expert is also stuck to the blunder that the former 
Socialist  Programme Party and the State Law and Order Restoration 
Council were  synonymous and cannot simply see that the government in 
power stayed out of  the elections and only supervised them for 
reasons already explained in the "  News Release". Anyway it is not 
surprising that some so-called experts are  too politically biased to 
see things as they really are.

    At the same time it is clear as day light to see that the Union 
of  Myanmar is still tolerant enough to allow a political party that 
many feel to  be a political ally of armed insurgents, a parallel 
government and dissidents  abroad with colonial sentiments to remain 
legally standing. 

    Above all, when change takes place the change has to be fresh- 
not stuck  to something that happened a decade ago in the last 
                                        Yours sincerely,
                                         (Kyee Myint)
                                  Minister Counsellor



[BurmaNet adds?The June 14 issue of BurmaNet carried an excerpt from 
a book by Francis Christophe about the French oil firm Total's 
involvement in Burma.  The excerpt, entitled "Total and the 
Cyberplot" was about Total, BurmaNet and an American activist in 
France who uses the pseudonym "Dawn Star."  This is Dawn Star's 
reply, which was posted to a number of mailing lists and sent by him 
to BurmaNet.]

Dawn Star [dawnstar@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]

This was my response and I stand on it. I dont have time to write 
essays about kind of thing. You have my response. Thank you. 


It appears that the [BurmaNet News]  has taken a serious dive if it 
believes it [Christophe's book] be true.
However, I do thank BNN for having published it because up until now 
I  was not aware of its existence, and this now proffers the chance 
of  response.
I dont know who edited or translated it from French to English, but 
its  very hard to believe that it was Strider. Futher, the BNN should 
have  confirmed that information directly with me, Dawn Star.
Strider knows me from our first meeting, in New Delhi, during the  
Fernandez hosted pro-freedom democracy conference, at which occasion 
I  arranged, through the OSI office in Paris, a passage to New Delhi, 
for  the actor, U Aung Ko. He and I flew down there together. (I paid 
my own ticket.) There, I had a  private late dinner, with George 
Fernandez at his home, now India's  Defense Minister. (You might 
remember he kicked Coca-Cola out of India  in the seventies, and then 
was active in the antiPepsi campaign).  If anyone wishes to know more 
about Dawn Star, all you have to do is  contact Hans Janitschek, 
former Secretary General of the Socialist  International. I worked 
for years with him at the United Nations  Secretariat, in NYC.
 Otherwise, this kind of nonsense shows you why, again, as a  
justification, it was necessary to work in FRance, against the  
falsifications, and errors of bad reporting. Which is a big subject 
 For years I had asked for funds from OSI, for our website, and for 
the  book. WE NEVER GOT A DIME. And this after several proposals 
during many  years. Further, I often criticized Mr. Soros for the 
confused  policy he  took towards Total. We at EuroBurmanet, were on 
the masthead of the  BurmaNet news in 1995, 1996, and 1997 for the 
Total campaign. We were  working together, but not financially or 
legally affiliated. We were and  always have been independent.
 At EuroBurmanet we finance our activities with our own funds and 
meager  contributions from our friends and supporters. We do not have 
Soros, the  Rockefeller Brothers or other major capitalists paying 
our bills, and  telling us what is politically correct or out of line.
 In politics and business there is a lot of mud-slinging and 
character  assassination, and with the Total problem in Burma, the 
stakes are high.  But I thought, and it now appears I have been 
wrong, that our movement  had higher standards.
 Well, there is still room for hope.
 By the way, yesterday, on the Boulevard ST Germain, in the Paris 
Left  Bank, I was passing out AntiTotal posters in front of some book 
stores,  and a chap took one, saw the picture of Suu Kyi and the 
sinking Erika  ship, and thanked me, saying, "I studied five years 
with the husband of  Aung San Suu Kyi, in Oxford". He spoke several 
languages, Tibetain,  Sanskrit, etc. That was a nice postive 
encounter. and quite different  from this direct attack by Burmanet 
against Dawn Star that comes at a  time now, when I clearly attack 
Total and the French state,  AND IT SEEMS ONCE AGAIN THE SOROS OSI 
BURMANET GROUP needs to distance  itself from a direct hit on the 
company and its longtime association in  Burma.
Politics and business is are strange bedfellows, and Soros is a big  
investor in France. Remember that.
So its not unthinkable that forces in Burmanet have chosen to openly 
and  publicly distance themselves from the aggressive frontal attack 
that  Dawn Star has undertaken, and had undertaken from the very 
beginning,  against its investment in Burma.
But its a low cheap shot, and uses weak and empty arguments to do 
it,  long after the years of those articles cited here indirectly, 
without  any direct handling of the material. Its all too vague and 

 Yet it comes at a time, right during the publication and 
distribution  throughout France of the book, by Dawn Star, that 
clearly and directly  attacks Thierry Desmarest as a man of war, and 
his company as bent on  the politics of war.
 Is Soros and Burmanet now siding on the side of oil companies and 
other  capitalist partners, the banks and others in the money 
laundering  business, in an attempt to undermine Dawn Star, and those 
fighting  against the vested interests in crimes against humanity?  

 If Burmanet is a democratic forum, - and I still believe it is, - 
you  will see this Response published on the Burmanet  News. If it is 
not,  then you will not. Or is OSI and Burmanet interested in 
dominating the  Free Burma movement at the expense of other genuine 
activities in the  human rights movement?
 Its a cheap, dark shot against Dawn Star by a French writer who has 
not  done his research. For whatever motive now (a jealous writer 
bent on  destroying a fellow writer covering the same territory -
TOTAL-, a  transnational rivalry imbued with the alarming scandal of 
international  politics, corporate power, blood and drugs, oh! how 
terribly exciting!!!  But how very ignorant and low minded. Better to 
have light!  

 Lets not be humbled by such ignorance.
 Be bright and positive and work hard towards the future of Free 
Burma.  But remember, we know who are true friends are, and who are 
the weakened  foes.
 I gave a copy of my book to Katie Redford of ERI, after the 
TotalFinaElf  general assembly meeting. I even stood up at the 
shareholders meeting  and denounced the 2000 people in the hall for 
their rude abusive  reception of the courageous woman, this in a 
direct interogation with  the CEO Desmarest. And I met her husband 
who is featured in the book.  Futher, I am told this morning that the 
Nouvel Observator has published  a photo of Dawn Star. I have not 
seen it. And the Belgium magazine also  mentioned Dawn Star in its 
report of the Belgium senators who I also  met, and who know very 
well Mr. Janitscheck in New York. 
 So this kind of attack on Dawn STar is very weak and specious and  
certainly undermines the individual who made it and anyone who cares 
to  believe it.
 metta, dawn star*
 The fact is now, some people by error or intention, prefer to mix 
things  up and confuse the truth. I hope this makes things more 
clear. The  writer, Christophe... is referring to some stories in the 
press  which lacked rigorous reporting standards, and I feel as a 
journalist  that we have an obligation to dig for the truth, and 
criticize ourselves  and others in our profession, if we ever hope to 
get  closer to the  truth and honest reporting.
 Obvious some people have not heeded that lesson.
 Dawn Star



Eric Bruce Johnston [ericbj@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
July 17, 2000

[Abridged.  Johnston is a journalist living in France.]

Title: TOTAL: Entre Maree Noire et Blanchiment  

Having read Francis Christophe's generally excellent, polemical 
little book and being in the proceeds of wading through the 562 pages 
of Dawn Star's "Total: l'Etat et la Nouvelle Economie," and in view 
of the former's derogatory remarks concerning 'Dawn Star', I feel 
impelled to make some comment. Living in a remote corner of rural 
France, and being new to, and not having had the opportunity to meet 
any of the protagonists in, the campaign against the Burmese junta, I 
have no axe to grind.  

Dawn Star's voluminous book, just out, seems to be well documented 
and well argued. A monumental nail in the coffin of TotalFinaElf's 
Burmese aspirations. It includes voluminous appendixes, but 
unfortunately lacks an index which is something of a disadvantage for 
a documentary work of this scope. It is perhaps the most detailed 
work to date on TotalFina's involvement in Burma.  

One thing seems clear. 'Dawn Star' is calling unequivocally for a 
boycott of TotalFinaElf whereas open support for this from other 
quarters seems not unnaturally somewhat muted, since it is a criminal 
offence under French law. (French legislation thus denies the French 
citizen one of the prime weapons of defence against the might of 
international commerce, and its attendant political corruption)  

Maybe this helps to explain why 'plucky little Belgium' is the centre 
of gravity for the campaign against TotalFinaElf in the French-
speaking world. It may also be the underlying reason for Aung San Suu 
Kyi's frustration, recently expressed to Le Nouvel Observateur:  

"Fifty-five percent of the tourists are French, and France is the 
principal European investor in the country. Perhaps the French are 
not well-informed of the situation in Burma."  

If the powers-that-be have thus far hesitated to invoke the 
legislation, it is perhaps in order to avoid offering free publicity 
to Total's detractors. Besides, it might awaken French people to what 
they thought did not concern them,and when they decide to protest 
they generally do not go in for half-measures. In a country with 
government organizations such as the DGST (remember, they blew up and 
sank 'The Rainbow Warrior' in Auckland harbour) they may prefer to 
adopt other methods, if the tide appears likely to turn against 

Judge for yourself whether "Total, l'Etat et la Nouvelle Economie", 
or its author, was subsidized by the firm in question.

[Blurbs from dust jacket deleted]



July 18, 2000

BurmaNet is aimed at a community of readers that closely follows 
politics and events in Burma.  The litmus test for determining what 
articles to put in BurmaNet is not simply whether the editor believes 
them to be true, but whether, in my judgment, they are significant.  
BurmaNet leaves it to the readers to determine the credibility of the 
articles included.  The excerpt of Francis Christophe's book run by 
BurmaNet on June 14 meets the test of significance and it is up to 
the readership to estimate credibility.
Leaving aside the debate between Christophe and Dawn Star (which 
BurmaNet takes no side in), the reason for including unaltered 
material from a range of sources is that an article is often more 
important for what it reveals about the author's state of mind than 
for its correspondence with reality.  By way of example, the regime's 
claim carried in today's BurmaNet regarding the economy (See above 
6.47%) is demonstrably  not credible.  This article is in BurmaNet 
not because of the truth of its proposition, but rather, because an 
important political actor (the regime) is--however improbably--
asserting the claim.


_____________________ OTHER  ______________________


New Delhi, June 18, 2000
Mizzima News Group (http://www.mizzima.com)

Burma women organizations based in India will hold a peace rally in 
New Delhi on Monday morning, the 55th birthday of Daw Aung San Suu 
Kyi and "Women of Burma Day".

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been leading a courageous non-violent 
struggle in Burma against one of the world's most tyrannical military 
dictatorships. In May 1990, her party the National League for 
Democracy (NLD) got a landslide victory, winning 392 of the 485 
parliamentary seats. But, the military junta continues to ignore the 
popular verdict. 

The women activists are holding the rally at the Jantar Mantar in New 
Delhi from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. tomorrow in support of Daw Aung 
San Suu Kyi and her democratic movement, according to a joint release 
of Burma women organizations based in India.

Burma women organizations in exile have been celebrating Daw Aung San 
Suu Kyi's birthday, June 19, as "Women of Burma Day" since 1997. 
Moreover, many prominent women activists in India have proposed her 
birthday to celebrate as "Women of Asia's Day".

"She is a symbol of inspiration for us because she is not just a 
leader of women, she provides courageous leadership to all the 
Burmese people and this daughter of Asia has established high 
civilizational norms through her leadership of the movement and done 
us all proud", said Ms. Madhu Kishwar, the editor of MANUSHI women 
and society journal in India. 

In her message to Burmese women in exile on the occasion of Daw Aung 
San Suu Kyi's birthday, Samata Party president Ms. Jaya Jaitly 
said: "We should call this "Women of Asia's Day", because, we women 
of Asia most of all, are fighting against violence, economic 
domination and the ugly side of armed conflicts. All women of Asia 
support Daw Suu Kyi as she gives women courage to face difficulties".



The BULLETIN	        June 16, 2000 - Number 168

FCCT in Cyberspace

Thursday June 29, 2000 (8pm)

Poisoned or pillaged ecosystems are a breeding ground for all kinds 
of human rights abuses. And when human rights abuses are not 
respected the natural environment loses its defender, leading to a 
downward spiral of more human rights violations and ecological 
degradation. Given such linkages, this presents the concept of 
earthrights that reflect the connection between human well-being and 
a sound environment. Drawing on examples from  across the globe, it 
highlights the ways in which campaigns for human rights and 
environmental protection are often one and the same. The book 
concludes that environmentalists and human rights activists alike 
must begin to recognize that healthy ecosystems and human rights are 
inextricably linked.  

Mr. Tyler Giannini will be joined by Pibhop Dhongchai, Chairperson of 
Campaign for Popular Democracy and a leader of  nearly 100 NGOs which 
have been campaigning against the Yadana gas pipeline.  Khun Pibhop 
was a key figure in pressuring the Thai government to establish a 
committee, led by Mr. Anand Panyarachun, to review the gas contract 
signed between PTT and the Yadana consortium.

Khun Pibhop will address the government's response to opposition of 
the pipeline project and the financial burden of 50 million USD 
assumed by the PTT in the "take or pay" contract for the gas.  Pibhop 
will present slides illustrating environmental damage in the pipeline 


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