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BurmaNet News: May 19, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         May 19, 2001   Issue # 1807
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

NOTED IN PASSING: ?This is truly an outrageous, outrageous regime.?

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on the SPDC.  See Voice of America: 
[On Colin Powell?s Burma testimony]

*Bangkok Post: Karen leader re-elected DAB chairman
*Burma Courier: UNICEF Triples Spending on HIV/AIDS Education in Burma
*Bangkok Post: Detainees in poor health in Burmese cells
*KNU: From Prison to The Death Way

MONEY _______
*Newsweek: The Rising Cost of Labor
*About Jean Pichon--Excerpts from  ?Burma and France. Short term 
*PRN: AFL-CIO and ICEM Challenge Halliburton on Burma Ties at 
Shareholders Meeting 
*Mizzima: In Burma, Fuel crisis deepens and Kyat continues to sink

*Bangkok Post: Surayud puts army on alert
*Chin National Front: Battle news from CNF
*AP: Rebel Group Vows Continued Fight Against Myanmar Regime

*Bangkok Post: Wattanachai says Burma is concealing 'speed' labs
*AP: Thai Police Seize 1 Million Methamphetamine Pills

*Deutsche Presse-Agentur: Myanmar sets date for U.N. special envoy's 
next visit
*Voice of America: [On Colin Powell?s Burma testimony]
*BBC: Powell gloomy on Burmese talks
*US Government: [Transcript excerpt--Colin Powell?s testimony on Burma]
*Bangkok Post: Chavalit not bothered as critics blast his methods
*The Star: Myanmar man source of outbreak

*The New York Times:   Burma's Junta
*The Nation: Third Army confronts new Golden Triangle king 
*TV Myanmar (SPDC): News conference explains Wa leaders briefings in 
Mong Yawn Mongyun

*British Broadcasting Company: BBC Seeks Burmese Translator Presenters

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Bangkok Post: Karen leader re-elected DAB chairman

 May 19, 2001.

Anti-Rangoon Karen National Union leader Bo Mya has been re-elected 
chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Burma which consists of nearly 20 
democracy groups. 
A statement issued during the third DAB meeting held in a border area of 
Burma opposite Tak on May 14-17 said Gen Bo Mya was elected chairman for 
the third time. 
Ye Htut of the Australia-based Overseas Burma Liberation Front was made 
his deputy while Aung Moe Zaw of the Democratic Party for Society was 
elected secretary-general. 
Another three democracy groups-the Arakan League for Democracy, Naga 
National League for Democracy and Mergui-Tavoy United Front-will become 

The meeting was host to 64 representatives and observers from 19 
democracy groups in Burma.


Bangkok Post: Detainees in poor health in Burmese cells

 May 19, 2001.

Government urged to seek their release

Eleven villagers from Kra Buri district in Ranong province are being 
held in poor conditions in Burma, say relatives. 

They want the government to intervene after the group was detained 
almost a month ago. 

The group, including two school boys, was reportedly fishing in the 
bordering Kra Buri river on April 20 when Burmese soldiers emerged and 
arrested them. 
They are Mon Chumanee, 42, her son Noppadol, 13, Anant Rittipat, 31, 
Manit Rittipat, 21, Ruab Thongkham, 35, Boonyuen Ketkaew, 42, Boonyuan 
Ketkaew, 20, Kiart Suetrong, 15, Panom Worasing, 23, Visanu Worasing, 
16, and Saravut Kiawwong, 13. They are detained at a police station in 

Paka Kiawwong, Saravut's mother, said she had visited her son three 
times, each of which cost her at least 3,000 baht in entrance fees. 

The detainees had no change of clothes and got only one meal a day, she 
She urged the authorities to seek the release of the group. Her son 
suffered convulsions and should be in school, she said. Nob Worasing, 
mother of Panom and Visanu, said her family was in trouble as it 
depended on both sons. 

Border co-ordinators in Ranong have asked for their release but 
Kawthaung officials replied that the decision depended on Rangoon. 

The Thais were charged with intrusion in Burmese waters and unauthorised 
Suriya Sawasdi, a former provincial councillor and a co-ordinator, said 
he would take relatives to Bangkok next week to seek help from the 
interior and foreign ministers.


Burma Courier: UNICEF Triples Spending on HIV/AIDS Education in Burma

Based on news from the Myanmar Times and Reuters:  Updated to May 14, 
RANGOON - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has announced that 
it will triple its annual spending on the prevention of HIV/AIDS among 
Burma's youth, according to Dr Myo Zin Nyunt, a local UNICEF official.   
Spending will rise to the level of US$ 1.5 million annually during the 
period 2001-5, he said.

The announcement came as the latest report from the Ministry of Health 
indicated that the number of HIV/AIDS cases has risen.  However, Dr Myo 
Zin Nyunt cautioned that  such estimates can be the cause for 
controversy among experts.  "What we can be sure of is that the rate of 
HIV infection among youths is high compared to that in the elderly and 
children", he said.  The UNICEF official said that to carry out 
individual screening and blood tests to verify the number of infected 
youths would be a huge challenge due to the expense.

Dr Myo Zin Nyunt said that support from the government in handling the 
issue would also prove to be greatly beneficial.  "As far as we are 
concerned, HIV prevention programs should be openly addressed in order 
to break the silence surrounding the virus and enable us to strengthen 
our activities. 

In Beijing this week, UNICEF warned that young people in East Asia and 
the Pacific are "woefully unprepared'' to deal with HIV/AIDS, which is 
expected to spread dramatically in the region in the coming decade.   
Presently, 6.4 million people are known to be infected with the virus 
throughout the region, of which 50 percent are young people.

A UNICEF poll of youths aged 9-17 in 17 Asia-Pacific countries or 
regions found alarming ignorance about HIV/AIDS and its causes, the 
agency said in a statement issued at the beginning of a regional 
ministerial conference. "The results of this survey should serve as a 
wake-up call to the governments and societies in this region on how much 
more needs to be done to educate young people, especially about HIV and 
AIDS,'' Mehr Khan, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific regional director, said 
in the statement. 
The survey of 10,000 children and adolescents, UNICEF said, were a 
representative sample of 300 million East Asian and Pacific people in 
the 9-17 age group.  The sampling revealed strong optimism about the 
future coupled with ignorance about HIV/AIDS.  Sixty percent of those 
9-13 years old and 25 percent of the 14-17 age group said they knew  
"absolutely nothing'' or ``only the name'' of HIV/AIDS, UNICEF said.  Of 
the 14-17 year olds, 68 percent identified unprotected sexual 
intercourse as a major route of HIV/AIDS infection, but only 41 percent 
said they knew what a condom was, it said.   Myanmar was among the 
countries surveyed, UNICEF reported. 


KNU: From Prison to The Death Way

Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department
Karen National Union

18 May, 2001

 According to a prisoner porter who deserted to Karen National 
Liberation Army (KNLA), on May 2, 2001 al least 200 prisoners from Tavoy 
jail were sent to Htu Ler village (Kyauk Htone) where No.9 Operational 
Commanding Headquarter set up their front line base camp. On the way 
those prisoners were tied up together in 5 men groups each and were 
escorted by 40 soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 377, which was led 
by Battalion Commander Soe Oo. When they arrived to Ta Mae Hta (Sinzwe 
Chaung Wa) an old and weak prisoner, (50 yrs.) was unable to follow the 
convoy and fell down to the ground. One of the junior officer from that 
troop came to that fallen man and told him "You should rest because you 
cannot walk further." That officer pulled off his pistol and shot him to 
dead and he died on the spot. 

When this convoy arrived on to the hilltop of Htee Ngya Li other two 
prisoners were shot dead because they also could not walk anymore. When 
arrived to Kahtaungi village another 8 prisoners could not walk anymore. 
The villagers were ordered by that troop to send those unable prisoners 
to Htu Ler. When the 8 prisoners were arriving to Htu Ler they all were 
killed by the troop at the same night they arrived. 


Newsweek: The Rising Cost of Labor

How foreign pressure may break the regime?s habit of forcing peasants to 
work for little or no pay

By Brook Larmer

May 21 issue ?

The small Burmese peasant with the red-stained teeth and the fearful 
eyes  hardly seems capable of unnerving one of the world?s most 
repressive  military regimes. Maung is not a terrorist, a guerrilla or 
even a  dissident. He is something that, in this era of globalization, 
can be even  more troublesome: he is a plaintiff in a United States 
court case. And his  target is none other than the American energy giant 
Unocal, one of Burma?s  biggest foreign investors.

CHEWING ON A WAD of betel nut near his hideout in  rural Thailand, Maung 
 (not his real name) recalls the abuses that accompanied the arrival of 
the  Yadana gas pipeline, a $1 billion project financed in part by 
Unocal. The  trouble began in the early 1990s, he says, when an Army 
battalion assigned  to protect the pipeline corridor set up base near 
his village in southern  Burma. Soldiers slept in his home, stole his 
food and forced him to act as  their mule, carrying  backbreaking loads 
through the jungle for nothing but  a bowl of uncooked rice. One day in 
1994, a white man in a sleek pickup  truck came to ask for the village?s 
cooperation on the pipeline project.  The military began forcing Maung, 
and all the other villagers, to work even  harder, lugging supplies, 
building a railroad and -- on one  occasion --  learning the pipeline 
route itself. In two years, he says, he got paid only  twice, for a 
total of about $3.  "If  there were no pipeline, my life  wouldn?t have 
turned out like this", says Maung, who fled Burma in 1996.  "My village 
would not have suffered",

And if the pipeline had not been backed by American   money, the world  
might not have cared. But as a plaintiff in the high-profile case 
against  Unocal, Maung is shining a light on the most disturbing and 
dimly  understood human-rights issue bedeviling Burma -- forced labor. 

A decade ago, when the military was gunning down protesters, nullifying 
an  opposition election victory and jailing the saintly Aung San Suu 
Kyi, both  the regime and its opponents had more   urgent problems to 
worry about. But  the generals, panicked  by an economic plunge mostly 
of their own doing,  are slowly trying to reintroduce Burma into the 
world. And they are finding  people like Maung -- and the energetic 
community of international activists  behind him -- blocking the way.

The roots of forced labor in Burma are very deep, stretching back to the 
13th-century Kingdom of Pagan. But the feudal practice has intensified  
under the current military rulers, who see themselves as 21st-century 
heirs to the kings. The problem is compounded by a rapidly  expanding 
military: the Army has doubled in size  over the past decade to  more 
than 400,000 soldiers, whom the government last year admitted it could  
no longer afford to feed. An estimated   800,000 people in Burma  
(population: 52 million) are forced to work without pay, building roads, 
 bridges, pagodas, even golf courses. The worst abuses take place in the 
 fractious border regions, where ragtag Army units are forced to fend 
for  themselves, with little or no supervision.

Local battalions use villagers to carry supplies, clear roads,  grow 
crops,  build railroads or construct their military bases.

"Forced labor has become a drug for these local  commanders," says one  
foreign-aid worker in Burma. "They can?t survive without it."

At the same time, the international outrage over such practices is only  
deepening Burma?s debilitating isolation. In 1997, citing its 
frustrations  with forced-labor and other  human-rights abuses, 
Washington imposed  sanctions that prohibit American companies from 
making new investments in  Burma. The European Union has expanded its 
trade restrictions on the  country. Last fall the United Nations?   
International Labor Organization  passed a resolution asking  all member 
countries to review their  relationships with  Burma to ensure that they 
did nothing to perpetuate its  system of forced labor.

Because of a combination of sanctions and arbitrary economic policies in 
 Burma, most American corporations that did business in the country --  
Motorola, Texaco, PepsiCo, among others -- pulled out their investments  
several years ago. Those companies that stayed -- like Unocal, and its 
partner, Halliburton, an oil-services supply company run,  until last 
year, by current U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney -- argue  that as 
with China, engaging the regime will ultimately be more productive  than 
shunning it.

Cheney, who has defended his company?s operations as  being "fully in  
compliance with U.S. policy," has lobbied against Burma sanctions for 
the  free-trade group USA Engage; Unocal has invested $300 million in 
the  country  since 1993. "We do not defend this regime, we do not 
defend human-rights abuses," says Mike Thatcher, a  spokesman for  
California-based Unocal. "But this is a place that has shut itself off 
from  the world for decades. The best way to bring the country into the 
world  community is by engaging it, not by isolating it and making it an 
economic  basket case."

But Maung?s case shows just how difficult it is for any company to stay  
clean when working with Rangoon. With the guidance of human-rights 
lawyers,  the poor Burmese peasant and 14 other plaintiffs filed a case 
against  Unocal in 1996. They do not accuse Unocal or French 
joint-venture partner  Total of using forced labor directly. (Maung even 
recalls carrying supplies  for a military battalion one day when a Total 
employee, clearly unsettled  by the practice, secretly slipped him 150 
kyat, about one dollar at the time.) 

But the plaintiffs argue that Unocal knew Burmese soldiers were abusing  
their rights and still relied on them to provide security for the 
pipeline  area. Indeed, according to case documents, Unocal?s own 
consultants told  the company about such abuses both before and during 
the construction of  the Yadana pipeline. Says Earthrights International 
lawyer Jed Greer: "If  you hire the mafia to provide protection for you, 
who?s responsible if they  do something  bad? You are."

So far the court has sided with Unocal, largely because the company 
never  signed a written contract with the Burmese military. Says 
Thatcher: "We  can?t be held accountable for the military any more than 
Starbucks in  Seattle is responsible for the actions of the police 
protecting its store  from protesters." In his summary judgment last 
year, U.S. district court  Judge Ronald S.W. Lew said that  the company 
"knew that forced labor was  utilized" and  "benefited from the 
practice." But he declined to bring the  case to trial because, he said, 
Unocal didn?t "control" the security forces  or "conspire" with them to 
commit the abuses. The plaintiffs? lawyers have  already filed an appeal 
in both state and district courts, and the  landmark case -- after five 
years and millions of  dollars -- looks to drag on for several more 

Any other companies that seek to do business in Burma will likely face 
similar  obstacles. A group of refugees from the  outhern Shan  States  
recently arrived in Thailand with fresh but typical tales of horror. One 
middle-aged Shan woman says she was forced to move, with the rest of her 
village, to a new site next to an Army  base.  When her cousin went back 
to retrieve their cows last year, soldiers  caught him, beat him to 
death and took the cows. Before she escaped earlier  this year, the 
military forced her to work most days growing crops,  clearing roads or 
building fences at the base.

"The soldiers treat us like animals," she says. "But we have to work. We 
 have no choice"

The Burmese generals are themselves left with few  viable choices. 
Although  the regime likes to fume about not giving in to external 
pressure, leaders  well know that the moribund economy cannot grow 
without outside investment. 

That, observers think, has provided the greatest impetus to the recent,  
highly secret dialogue between the government  and opposition leader Suu 
 Kyi. "These talks," says one former government official in Rangoon, 
"are  the generals? own sort of forced labor." And a chore the 
international  community would do well to encourage.


About Jean Pichon--Excerpts from  ?Burma and France. Short term profits?

BurmaNet carried an AFP dispatch on May 15 by AFP?s Bangkok Bureau Chief 
Philippe Agret, on Jean Pichon.  The following excerpt, ?Burma and 
France. Short term profits? by Francis Christophe presents a much less 
flattering picture of Pichon.  The excerpt is from ?Birmanie, Mode d? 
emploi?, an alternative guide to  Burma ,  published by Editions 
Balland, Paris, April 2001 and was translated from french by Brigitte 


Excerpts from  ?Burma and France. Short term profits?
by Francis Christophe

A constant feature appears in the episodic relationship 
between France and Burma for over a century: Those who 
promoted a French presence in this country have always been  a handful 
of wheeler-dealers seeking short-term profits.[  ..] The fall of 
Mandalay in November 1885 and subsequent  integration of upper Burma in 
British India owed much to  France, and particularly to the rakish and 
unscrupulous  business practices of Bonvilain, a French engineer ? role  
equivalent to our present head of cooperation mission ? at  King 
Thibaw?s service. [?]

On November 29 1885 Mandalay fell. King Thibaw and Queen  Supayalat were 
exiled. The French community was requested  to leave the country, 
leaving behind mines, teak, banking?  Towards the end of the 20 th 
century the part played by a  network of unscrupulous French businessmen 
well-connected  with influential generals holding power in Rangoon is  
reminiscent of Bonvilain ? s failed attempts. [..] While  goods of prime 
importance  then had been teak and gems,  now, under Mitterrand and 
Chirac they are hydrocarbons and  opium, with its derivative, heroin. 
[?] This is not to say  that the French connection is directly involved 
in refining  or exporting Burmese heroin, but rather that they are  
practicing their skills at a new industry: Drug-money  laundering.

In 1989 a French businessman took up residence in Rangoon.  Thanks to a 
favour  to him by the old dictator, Ne Win, he  is the only foreigner 
with a Burmese passport:
Mr Pichon has been in the good books of the junta?s highest  levels 
since services rendered during his previous activities as military 
attache to the French embassy in 

Pichon is a member of the international network of  unscrupulous 
businessmen that Pierre Falcone set up  then,  including in particular 
former members of secret services.  Pichon was on the pay-roll of one of 
Falcone?s companies,  Setraco, which opened a branch in the Burmese 
capital. At  the same time Pichon set up a consultancy company  together 
 with former heads of the Burmese military intelligence

These structures played a key-role between 1989 and 1992 in  obtaining 
for Total the Yadana contract, at 1.2 billion US$  the biggest 
investment ever made in Burma. 

To keep their warm connections with the Burmese generals  the French 
network had to help them by facilitating the  financing of weapon 
purchases. Backed by the official 
payment of  ?bonus fees? ? 15 million US $ by Total to the  MOGE 
(Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise) - the Falcone network  set up a 
drug-money laundering circuit. This permitted,  among other purchases, 
the acquisition of 24 helicopters  from Poland.

In 1996, with a mind to broaden the base  of the drug-money  laundering 
mechanism, the Falcone network, supported by the  French diplomatic 
structure, contributed to design and  launch the ?1996 visit Myanmar 
year?. [?] This Burmese year  reached its peak at a world tourism summit 
in Paris   attended by  a  Burmese general minister, when a prize  named 
?Gulliver d? Or?, or ?golden Gulliver? was given to a  tour operator 
connected with the Falcone network, for its  touring circuit around 

At the highest level of the French republic the Falcone  network managed 
to get approval for its interests.  President Chirac  twice publicly 
expressed support for the  Burmese regime. Once at the Asia-Pacific 
summit in Bangkok  in 1996, and again in an interview to the Far Eastern 
 Economic Review in April 1997. In contradiction with 
European decisions and opposing all democracies, Mr Chirac  declared 
that he favoured the immediate and unconditional  admission of the 
Burmese narco-regime into ASEAN.(...)


PRN: AFL-CIO and ICEM Challenge Halliburton on Burma Ties at 
Shareholders Meeting 

Houston Chronicle, Wed, 16 May 2001

(PRN) AFL-CIO and ICEM Challenge Halliburton on Burma Ties at 
Shareholders Meeting  
DALLAS, May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Worker shareholders are stepping up their 
global campaign to end corporate support for Burma's military 
dictatorship at Halliburton's (NYSE: HAL) annual meeting today. 
Representatives of the AFLCIO and the International Federation of 
Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) are speaking 
in favor of a shareholder resolution addressing the Halliburton's 
involvement in human rights abuses in Burma. Halliburton, the energy 
giant formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, is one of the few 
U.S. based companies with investments in Burma -- a country whose 
government is noted for massive human rights violations and involvement 
in narcotics trafficking.  
The shareholder resolution, sponsored by the LongView Collective 
Investment Fund of the Amalgamated Bank of New York, urges the 
Halliburton board of directors to report on the company's operations in 
Burma. The resolution asks what steps Halliburton has taken to assure 
"that neither Halliburton nor any of its subsidiaries is involved in or 
appears to benefit from the use of forced labor or other human rights 
abused in Burma."  
"Working people who invest in Halliburton want to know if its operations 
in Burma prop up a military regime which condones forced labor and other 
human rights abuses," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. "The LongView 
resolution at Halliburton is a positive measure in the best interests of 
its shareholders that will lead toward compliance with 
internationally-recognized workers' rights."  

In November 2000, the International Labor Organization (ILO) approved a 
resolution urging members to "review their relations with Burma" and 
"ensure that such relations do not perpetuate the system of forced or 
compulsory labour in that country."  

"The ILO has clearly ruled that forced labor is continuing and 
systematic in Burma, and our energy unions in that region have made 
their views very plain," said Fred Higgs, ICEM General Secretary. "We 
call upon Halliburton to disinvest from Burma. We cannot condone any 
economic activity which directly or indirectly supports the regime in 
Burma until full democracy and human rights, including workers' rights, 
are restored there."  

A recent proclamation issued by the ICEM's energy union affiliates from 
the Asia/Pacific region, meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, called on oil and 
gas companies to "cease investment in Burma while the use of forced 
labor continues." The unions represented were from Australia, 
Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, 
Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The ICEM is a 
global trade union federation uniting 20 million workers in over 400 
affiliated unions in 110 countries.  

Halliburton's recent activities in Burma include its participation in 
the Yadana pipeline, a project that used forced labor. The Yadana 
pipeline is one of the largest foreign investments in Burma, projected 
to provide the military-controlled regime with $150-$400 million 
annually for decades. Unocal, another U.S. company doing business in 
Burma, is being sued by victims of forced labor on the Yadana project. 
Halliburton's involvement in the Yadana project occurred during Vice 
President Cheney's tenure as CEO of the company.  

In addition, Halliburton has been instrumental in efforts to oppose 
sanctions on Burma through its strong involvement with USA-Engage and 
the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), two powerful industry groups. 
Vice President Cheney last fall defended his former company's operations 
on "Larry King Live" stating that, "you have to operate in some very 
difficult places and oftentimes in countries that are governed in a 
manner that's not consistent with our principles here in the United 
"The struggle for human and workplace rights in Burma has been critical 
for our union for many years," notes Joe Drexler, Director of Special 
Projects of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers 
International Union (PACE) who represents workers in the oil and gas 
industry. "Our members don't want their retirement savings invested by 
Halliburton in brutal dictatorships that use forced labor. It's just 

The situation in Burma violates the ILO Declaration on Fundamental 
Principal and Rights at Work, including the right to no forced labor. 
Unions around the world have recently launched a campaign to make sure 
workers know these rights, distributing an ILO-produced poster in 
workplaces and communities worldwide.  


Mizzima: In Burma, Fuel crisis deepens and Kyat continues to sink

Rangoon, May 16, 2001 
Mizzima News Group ( www.mizzima.com ) 
With the petrol and diesel prices jumping up for about 50% in the last 
few months and the country's foreign currency reserve crumbled with the 
beleaguered Kyat currency, many businesses in Burma have been 
depressing. In the capital Rangoon, the price of a gallon of petrol is 
at present 900 Kyat and diesel is 950 Kyat in black market while the 
same was around 600 Kyats last month. 

The people continue to face the fuel shortage despite the fact that 
government has been subsidizing petrol and diesel two gallons per day 
per vehicle with Kyat 180 and Kyat 160 for a gallon of petrol and diesel 
respectively. There are also reports that the government will ration 
only a gallon a day by the end of this month. 

Due to the continuing fuel crisis, major export businesses of the 
country have been badly affected. As electricity in Burma is an all-time 
failure, many businesses like garment business have to depend on diesel 
for continued existence. 

The prices of gold, cars and other imported items have also risen along 
with the inflation. "I sold a Supersloon with 44 lakhs Kyats yesterday. 
I would get only 35 lakhs if I sold it last month", a car dealer said. 
The shortage of hard currency in the hands of government has stopped the 
flow of importing new cars into the country. 

Taxi drivers on the streets are also affected. "I have to raise the taxi 
rate because the petrol's prize is increasingly higher. But the 
passengers do not want to give the rate I ask", said a taxi driver in 
Rangoon. "I have to buy the petrol from black market with high price. 
But I don't get a full gallon", he complained. 
Meanwhile, Burmese Kyat currency continues to tumble down to a new all 
time low of Kyat 850 to US one dollar today. It was 390 to the dollar in 
August last year. A cup of tea in Rangoon is 50 Kyats while it was 25 
Kyats three months ago. 


Bangkok Post: Surayud puts army on alert

 May 19, 2001.

Order triggered by junta's pledge to Wa
Subin Khuenkaew 

Troops have been put on alert at the border with Burma following 
Rangoon's warning that its soldiers would fight side-by-side with the 
United Wa State Army against any intruders. 
The alert order for the Third Army, which supervises the northern 
border, came directly from the army commander-in-chief, Gen Surayud 

Gen Surayud said the border situation was very volatile at the moment 
and anything could happen. 

"We cannot predict what is going to happen next," Gen Surayud said after 
his inspection trips yesterday to several border areas in Chiang Mai, 
Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. 

The army chief said he was surprised by Burma's pledge to have its 
soldiers fight alongside Wa guerrillas in future border clashes. 

The pledge was made by Brig-Gen Kyaw Win, deputy military intelligence 
chief, who said Burmese government troops would use its firepower to 
defend Wa territory along the border with Thailand. 

He also accused Thailand of raising border tensions with "deliberate 
"Let's ponder what it (the Burmese warning) really means," Gen Surayud 
said while talking with reporters at an army barracks in Chiang Dao 
district, Chiang Mai, where he was briefed on the latest border 
situaiton by the Third Army's Pha Muang task force. 
As Burma's close neighbour, Thailand wanted to maintain a good 
relationship with it, Gen Surayud said. However, the Thai army would 
respond accordingly to any border incursions that were intentional and 
provocative, he warned. 

The border dispute at Doi Lang in Chiang Mai's Mae Ai district, and at 
Koo Teng Na Yong in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, was "nothing new", 
the army chief said. 
The two border spots have long posed a problem, he said. The problem 
should be referred to a higher border committee if it is to be settled 

Earlier, the Burmese military junta had demanded a swift withdrawal of 
Thai troops stationed at 26 outposts in the Doi Lang area, which the 
Burmese said was located deep inside their territory. 

However, the Burmese claim was totally dismissed by Lt-Gen Wattanachai 
Chaimuenwong, the Third Army chief. 

He also warned any Burmese attempts to settle the dispute by force could 
lead to war. 
Gen Surayud also suggested yesterday that a neutral and independent body 
should be allowed to verify Burma's claim that its border area now under 
Wa control is not a major drug-producing site. 

He was responding to Rangoon's attempts to clear the image of its ally, 
including a recent press visit to Mong Yawn, the United Wa State Army's 
new town located close to the Thai border. 

It would be more credible if an internationally recognised and 
independent organisation was allowed to visit Mong Yawn to verify 
Rangoon's claim that the town was free of illicit drugs, Gen Surayud 
said. It was "too easy" to organise a press tour of the town and then 
declare that it was not a major drug production site, he said. 
Last week, representatives of six countries participating in a drugs 
meeting in Rangoon were taken to visit Mong Yawn, which Thai authorities 
said was being built with drug money. 

Earlier Lt-Gen Wattanachai also branded the press tour as an attempt to 
fool the world that the Wa army was not involved in drugs production and 
trafficking along the border. Thailand believes the UWSA is the main 
producer of methamphetamines flooding the country.


Chin National Front: Battle news from CNF

May 18, 2001

On April 11, 2001, the Chin National Army (CNA) troops from Tactical 
Number (1) Area and Burmese troops from 269th Light Infantry Battalion, 
stationed in Tiddim town clashed near Cauleng village. The Burmese Army 
lost 1 soldier and 1 wounded critically. A soldier of CNA sacrificed his 
life for Chinland.

On May 1, 2001, the Chin National Army (CNA) troops from Tactical Number 
(2) Area and Patrolling Burmese troops from 266th Light Infantry 
Battalion clashed near Rezua village of Matupi Township. Two G.3 assault 
rifles were captured by Chin National Army. No casualty on CNA side.

On May 4, 2001, the Chin National Army (CNA) troops and Burmese Troops 
from 266th Light Infantry Battalion clashed near Vuang Tu village of 
Thang Tlang Township. A Sergeant of Burmese Army was killed during the 
clashed. After the battle, Major Khin Maung Yi, Tactical Commander from 
Haka, the capital of Chin
State visited to Vuang Tu village and arrested all village headmen from 
Vuang Tu areas. The Tactical Commander interrogated village headmen and 
tortured them. He also accused that "All Vuang Tu villagers are 
supporters of the Chin National Army" and tortured them severely.


AP: Rebel Group Vows Continued Fight Against Myanmar Regime

Saturday May 19, 2:31 PM

MAE SOT, Thailand (AP)--A rebel organization, greatly weakened by 
defections, has said it wants to force Myanmar's military rulers to 
agree to talks by stepping up its attacks on the army, according to a 
press release Saturday.
The Democratic Alliance of Burma, which ended a four-day conference 
Thursday, attracted 55 leaders of 19 armed ethnic groups and political 
parties opposed to Myanmar's government.  

The alliance called for tripartite dialogue among the regime, the DAB 
and the party of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.  

"The Alliance will escalate political and military activities to achieve 
the process of tripartite dialogue," the statement said.  

Once a potent force, the DAB was largely crippled after the military 
rulers cut separate peace deals with several ethnic minority rebel 
groups, including the Kachin and Mon.  
The Karen National Union remains the only important group still fighting 
the military leaders. KNU Gen. Bo Mya was re-elected to head the DAB at 
the conference.  
The conference welcomed secret talks reportedly taking place between Suu 
Kyi and the military but added that such dialogue should be based on 
"mutual respect and equal status of the parties."  

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace prize winner, remains under virtual house arrest 
in Yangon, Myanmar's capital. The regime is widely condemned for human 
rights abuses, including the jailing of opposition figures.  

The conference accused the military government of trafficking in 
narcotics and condemned its ongoing border feud with Thailand.  
The DAB's third conference was held in an undisclosed "liberated area" 
near the Thai border.  


Bangkok Post: Wattanachai says Burma is concealing 'speed' labs

May 17, 2001.

Wassana Nanuam and Anucha Charoenpo

Lt-Gen Wattanachai Chaimuenwong has claimed Mong Yawn is a major 
drug-producing area and said there are at least 60 methamphetamine 
plants in that part of Burma's Shan state. 

The Third Army commander said he was not fooled by Rangoon's attempts to 
change the town's image.  Foreign journalists from China, Laos, 
Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand found no evidence of drug production in 
Mong Yawn during a recent press trip to the area. 

He said the Burmese organised the trip to fool the world and claimed 
some of the plants had modern laboratories and machines to produce 
methamphetamine tablets. 
"The Burmese government would definitely not allow outsiders to see 
them. The arranged trip would not clear Mong Yawn's image," Lt-Gen 
Wattanachai said. 
"Burma should instead show sincerity by joining hands with Thailand to 
destroy those plants."Burma's Triangle Region commander Maj-Gen Thein 
Sein and army chief Gen Maung Aye, both of whom promised to destroy the 
drug plants, remained silent on the matter, he said. 

He confirmed Thai soldiers would remain in Doi Lang in Mae Ai district, 
Chiang Mai, despite protests from Rangoon. Government-level talks to 
settle the dispute would begin soon. 

Meanwhile, drug busters vowed to keep an eye on Mong Yawn despite 
Rangoon's efforts to hide the drug factories.  Chatchai Suthiklom, 
deputy secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, 
said the recent press trip was very useful for Thai narcotics officials 
and the international community.  For five years, the township was 
considered Southeast Asia's largest drug-producing area. 

The drug factories were run by the United Wa State Army and are now 
controlled by Rangoon.  Burma denied this and organised the special trip 
to show Thailand and the international community the town was free of 

Mr Chatchai admitted seeing no drug-producing factories in the town but 
said there could have been plants "outside the town" or in the jungle 
near Thailand.  He was taken to two electricity-generating plants, 
commercial buildings and 200 shacks belonging to ethnic Wa people, 
relocated from northern Shan state. Almost 50,000 ethnic Wa were moved 
there as part of Burmese efforts to establish opium-free zones. 
The military junta expects to relocate another 200,000.


AP: Thai Police Seize 1 Million Methamphetamine Pills

Saturday May 19, 4:44 PM

BANGKOK (AP)--Police in northern Thailand seized 1.1 million 
methamphetamine pills hidden in a police car heading from the border 
with Myanmar, a radio station said Saturday.  

Police Sgt. Banleng Atchan, 40, was arrested after police at a road 
block searched his car and found the speed pills as well as 4 kilograms 
of chemicals, reported the INN radio news agency.  

Police acted on a tip-off about a large cache of methamphetamines being 
smuggled from Myanmar, also known as Burma, to Chiang Rai, 680 
kilometers north of Bangkok.  

The radio said Banleng confessed that he brought drugs and the chemicals 
from Myanmar's Tachilek area and was going to meet buyers in Chiang Rai. 
The Thai government believes the United Wa State Army is operating 
several methamphetamine factories along Thailand's northern border and 
flooding Thailand with the illegal substances.  

The Wa organization, described by the U.S. as one of the world's largest 
drug trafficking outfits, was once among a dozen ethnic minority rebel 
armies fighting the central government. But it signed a peace pact with 
the regime, which allowed the group to retain its weapons and some 
autonomy over territory.  
Last month, more than 13 million methamphetamine tablets were 
confiscated in northern provinces along the Myanmar border.  

The government accuses Myanmar's ruling military of turning a blind eye 
to the production of methamphetamine on its soil, a charge Myanmar 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Deutsche Presse-Agentur: Myanmar sets date for U.N. special envoy's next 

May 19, 2001,

Myanmar sets date for U.N. special envoy's next visit


Myanmar (Burma) has set a date for United Nation's special envoy Ismail  
Razali's next visit to the country, the ruling junta disclosed on 
Saturday in a rebuttal of a recent  editorial that appeared in the New 
York Times newspaper.

Myanmar's permanent representative to the U.N., Kyaw Tint Swe, refuted a 
 New York Times' editorial dated May 15 that suggested Razali, U.N. 
Special Envoy to  Myanmar, had been denied access to the country.

"The fact of the matter is, our Mission has been working with the United 
 Nations Secretariat to prepare Mr. Razali's visit," said Kyaw Tint Swe, 
in a letter sent to the editor of  the New York Times.

"I wish to inform you that on the very day your editorial appeared, a  
mutually convenient date had been worked out and communicated to the 
Secretariat," said the letter, which was  made available to the press in 
Yangon on Saturday.

The date of Razali's next visit was not mentioned.

Razali, a Malaysian diplomat who was once his country's ambassador to 
the  U.N., has visited Myanmar three times since being appointed special 
envoy by U.N. Secretary  General Kofi Annan last year.

Razali has claimed partial credit for the quiet startup last October of 
a  political dialogue between Myanmar's ruling military regime and 
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi,  who heads the National League for 
Democracy (NLD) party that won the 1990 polls, but was never  granted 

Kyaw Tint Swe took offence with the New York Times' failure to 
acknowledge  recent positive developments in Myanmar, regarded as a 
pariah by Western democracies for  its poor human rights record.

He pointed out that in recent months, Myanmar has been visited by a  
European Union troika mission,
by the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and the Special 
Rapporteur  for the U.N. Human Rights

"To ignore these positive developments and to urge the political 
pressure  be exerted on Myanmar, whether under guise of alleged human 
rights violations or forced labour,  would not only be wrong but also be 
counter productive," warned the Myanmar ambassador to the U.N.  


 Voice of America: [On Colin Powell?s Burma testimony]

May 15, 2001

[Article on Testimony of U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on the 
President's International Affairs Budget for FY 2002 before the Senate 
Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations]

Burma has been the subject of discussion in Washington, as Secretary of 
State Colin Powell testified on Capitol Hill.  His comments came during 
an appearance before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate to talk about 
budgetary issues.

Secretary Powell was questioned by Senator Mitch McConnell.  The 
Republican lawmaker said that, in his view, not enough attention was 
given in the past to "the struggle for democracy in Asia."  He asked if 
Secretary Powell sees any reason to hope for change in Burma. 

Aung San Suu Kyi has been in discussions, and that in and of itself it 
some improvement over the situation that existed a little while ago. Mr. 
Razali is planning to get engaged, so there are a few rays of hope. But 
they are few, and they are dim.

Secretary Powell said the United States needs to do a better job, as he 
put it, mobilizing a comprehensive approach to this problem with out 
friends in the region. He said he will be discussing Burma in coming 
months with leaders in Asia as he travels through the region. 

Mr. Powell was questioned further by Senator McConnell, who was a 
co-sponsor of the 1997 banning new U.S. investment in Burma. 

In this exchange with Secretary Powell, Mr. McConnell said the United 
States should maintain and, if possible, increase its leadership on the 
Burma issue.

This is truly an outrageous, outrageous regime. 


And I think American leadership ought to be continued. And if there's a 
way to do it, step it up. 

Well, yes. As you know, we're keeping in place the executive sanctions 
that were imposed -- 

Right.  And the Japanese are making an investment in a hydroelectric 
plant that we are -- we have suggested to them is not a proper 
investment to be making at this time with this regime. 

Secretary Powell's comment was the first clear statement that the Bush 
administration does not intend to change existing U.S. sanctions policy 
where Burma is concerned.

Referring to Burma, Cambodia, East Timor and Indonesia, Secretary Powell 
said the Bush administration intends to pursue a consistent human rights 

I can assure you that the administration -- President Bush, me, and all 
the members of the administration are committed to human rights 
everywhere throughout the world as universal rights belonging to every 
child of God, whether that child is in the United States or in Burma. 
And you will see us aggressively pursue our human rights agenda at every 

Secretary of State Colin Powell testified before a U.S. Senate committee 
Tuesday.  Tune in to VOA in coming days for any reaction to Secretary 
Powell's remarks.


BBC: Powell gloomy on Burmese talks

 Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK 

The United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has said that a 
dialogue between the Burmese military government and the opposition 
leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, offered some rays of hope, but they were few 
and dim.  

But Mr Powell told a Senate committee that the fact that they were 
talking at all represented a limited improvement in the political 
situation in Burma.  
He also criticised a grant by Japan of nearly $30m to Burma to finance a 
hydroelectric plant.  

Mr Powell said the Americans had suggested to Japan that this was not a 
proper investment to be making at this time, with this regime.  
Last month, the Burmese military authorities said their talks with Aung 
San Suu Kyi were progressing well.  



Bangkok Post: Chavalit not bothered as critics blast his methods

 May 16, 2001.

Defends on-going policy on Burma
Wassana Nanuam

Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh is not worried about criticism he 
is too soft in dealing with Burma-because he has been always 
Col Jongsak Panichkul, the defence spokesman, said Gen Chavalit has told 
his close staff he was well aware he was perceived as a villain siding 
with Burma, while Third Army commander Lt-Gen Wattanachai Chaimuenwong 
was viewed as a hero. 
"But he will let them continue [criticising], without worrying about his 
"He has been criticised all along for his work, when he was a soldier 
and now when he is a politician," the colonel said. 

Gen Chavalit said he was once strongly criticised for his policy to 
welcome insurgents back from southern forests, for the purchase of 
Chinese tanks for a million baht each to counter the Vietnamese threat, 
and his command of the Ban Romklao battlefront, where hundreds of Thai 
troops were killed or wounded. 

"Don't worry, if we have good intentions people will see it one day," 
Gen Chavalit reportedly told his staff. "But we'd better let them curse 
us on."Col Jongsak said that without the Chinese tanks, Vietnamese 
people might be living all over the Northeast. And people had seen the 
good result of the warm welcome for insurgents. 
Gen Chavalit said the problems with Burma were not new, but some topics 
should not be mentioned publicly to protect the national interest. 

The defence minister has instructed Col Jongsak to meet the press once a 
week to correct any misunderstandings about Gen Chavalit. 


The Star: Myanmar man source of outbreak

 May 17, 2001.

By Loong Meng Yee and Edward Rajendra 

KLANG:A 36-year-old Myanmar national is suspected to be the source of 
the cholera outbreak in Selangor early this month.  

It is learnt that the Myanmar immigrant who worked as a food handler at 
a nasi lemak stall at the 5th Mile, Jalan Meru, had assisted in 
preparing food which was served to some 3,000 people in the area.  

He has been quarantined at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang. 
Ninety-seven others were warded at the hospital and the Kuala Langat and 
Sungai Buloh hospitals after they tested positive for the vibrio 
cholerae bacteria.  

Apart from the Myanmar national, two Indonesians were also confirmed as 
carriers and one factory worker has died as a result of the outbreak 
confined mainly in Meru. There are also 146 suspected cases throughout 
the state so far.  

The authorities have closed down 136 food outlets while 732 food 
handlers have been given antibiotics as a preventive measure.  

State Local Government, Environment, Housing and Squatters Committee 
chairman Datuk Mokhtar Dahalan said people who came down with cholera in 
Petaling Jaya and Kuala Selangor had eaten the nasi lemak at the Meru 

"We have the whole situation under control with the foodstalls in Meru 
closed temporarily while the cholera patients have been quarantined. All 
the 97 patients will only be allowed to go home once the doctors certify 
that they are free of the disease," he said.  

Mokhtar also ordered local councils to demolish illegal foodstalls and 
inspect the hygiene level at all food outlets to ensure that the cholera 
outbreak did not recur.  
He added that Alam Flora had been ordered to conduct more frequent 
garbage collection at all residential housing areas as an additional 
measure to check the outbreak.  

A state senior health medical officer said the involvement of the 
foreign workers raised concern about the spread of transmittable 
diseases from less developed countries.  
"We do not know what kind of diseases they have before entering 
Malaysia. In our country, some of the foreign workers inevitably end up 
in the food industry and chances of food contamination are high.  

"There are, at least, records to trace the legal foreign workers. The 
illegal ones pose a bigger threat because we do not know their health 
history or their migration pattern," he said.  

The health officer clarified the cholera outbreak in Meru was defined as 
a limited one, instead of a full-blown outbreak affecting the entire 
He added that the clarification was important because the state Health 
Department had received telephone calls, some from as far as Taiwan, 
enquiring the severity of the outbreak.  

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Suleiman Mohamed urged the public not to 
be alarmed over the outbreak as the number of confirmed cases had 
dropped significantly over the last two days.  

Dr Suleiman, who earlier visited cholera patients at the Tengku Ampuan 
Rahimah Hospital, said the situation was under control and preventive 
measures taken by the state Health Department were successful in 
containing the outbreak. 


The New York Times:   Burma's Junta

 Monday, May 14, 2001
  A few months ago it looked as if the military junta in Burma might 
ease its repressive rule slightly. The regime was talking with the 
country's courageous pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and 
there even seemed to be a possibility that she would be liberated from 
the prolonged house arrest the government has enforced. But those hopes 
have all but vanished. If the Bush administration means to speak out 
against human rights abuses abroad and pressure governments to treat 
their citizens humanely, Burma would be a fine place to start.    .

  The military leaders of Burma are among the world's cruelest violators 
of human rights. The junta has tortured and executed political 
opponents, exploited forced labor and condoned a burgeoning traffic in 
heroin and amphetamines. In the clearest indication that the regime has 
little intention of reforming, the special United Nations envoy who 
acted as a catalyst for the talks between the government and Daw Aung 
San Suu Kyi has been denied permission to visit the country since 
January. Also, an anticipated release of political prisoners has failed 
to materialize, as has a pledge by the junta that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's 
party, the National League for Democracy, would be allowed to resume 
activity.    .

  This year the junta released 120 mostly youthful members of the party 
who had been imprisoned the previous year, but it is still believed to 
be holding as many as 1,700 political prisoners, including 35 people who 
were elected to Parliament in 1990. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's party won 
more than three-quarters of the seats in that election, but the junta 
annulled the results.    .

  The United States and the European Union have cooperated to isolate 
Burma, and in 1997 the Clinton administration banned new U.S. 
investments there. But some Asian countries have been reluctant to join 
in sanctions. China, in particular, has helped sustain the junta with 
military aid. Regrettably, last month Japan broke ranks with a 
Western-led 12-year ban on nonhumanitarian assistance to Burma by 
approving a $29 million grant for a hydroelectric dam.    
  Last year the International Labor Organization, responding to concerns 
about forced labor, voted to urge governments and international donors 
to impose further sanctions on Burma. Washington should consider a ban 
on imports from that nation, including textiles. Burma is rapidly 
increasing apparel exports to the United States. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's 
allies have argued that the hard currency earnings primarily benefit the 
military, not the laborers who make the garments. Washington should 
certainly be using its influence with Japan and other Asian countries to 
deter any further nonhumanitarian assistance.  


The Nation: Third Army confronts new Golden Triangle king 

 - May 16, 2001.
Opinion -
Don Pathan

In rugged border terrain, Thai troops square off against the United Wa 
Army which protects a huge drug empire in Burma. 

Doi Kiw Hoong, Chiang Mai - Standing at the peak of this hill 
overlooking the 32-square kilometres of disputed territory where about 
1,200 Thai and Burmese troops are scattered on just about every ridge, 
regiment commander Colonel Supoj Buranayanee tries hard not to offend 
his counterparts just one hilltop away. 
Not accustomed to nagging foreign press, the soft-spoken Supoj chose his 
words carefully as he explains the background of the disputed territory, 
Doi Lang, and how it is linked to a valley down the road, the site of 
Mong Yawn, a major stronghold for one of the world's largest armed drug 
trafficking group, the United Wa State Army (UWSA).  

"We have an agreement between the local Thai and Burmese forces that we 
would not use force in the Doi Lang area. And if one side wishes to 
carry out any type of operation, the other side must be notified," 
Colonel Supoj said. 
Curious foreign and local journalists, meanwhile, took turns with 
binoculars to see the much talked-about Wa town that has become the 
centre of a dispute between the Thai and Burmese governments. 

For years, before Burmese opium warlord Khun Sa and his powerful Mong 
Tai Army (MTA) surrendered to the Rangoon government in January 1996 in 
return for amnesty, this region, like other rebel-controlled areas, had 
functioned as a buffer zone between the Thai and Burmese armies. 

Besides being a buffer between the two armies, drug experts said the Doi 
Lang area also served as the gateway for some of the world's finest 
opium and heroin heading for major cities throughout the world. 

Today, the MTA is no more. And for the past six years, both Thai and 
Burmese soldiers have sat and watched each other's moves, wondering what 
the unwanted neighbours are up to. They wave and smile at each other 
every now and then. But in recent months, since the cross-border 
shelling between the two sides about 50 kilometres away in the Mae 
Sai-Tachilek area, as well as the latest demand by Rangoon that the Thai 
troops pull out of the area, nervousness has crept in. 

Like the previous decade when Thai soldiers were sent here to secure the 
border and curb the flow of opium and heroin coming out of MTA camps, 
today's troops are mandated to do pretty much the same thing. Besides 
having a Burmese army watching their back, the Thai troops have to 
contend with the growing presence of the new king of the Golden 
Triangle, the UWSA, dubbed the world's largest armed drug trafficking 

"Any of these points along the rugged border is accessible by foot," 
said Supoj, pointing to the vast rugged terrain that appeared to stretch 

Army officials say dealers from places like Bangkok and Hat Yai slip in 
and out of nearby Fang and Mae Ai districts to meet local agents who in 
turn hire local hilltribes to cross the border and transport the illicit 

A mule is paid one baht for each of the methamphetamine pills they get 
across to the Thai side of the border from the clandestine laboratories, 
most of which are under the Wa's control. It's a very attractive deal 
considering the fact that the average annual per capita income of the 
local residents is about Bt30,000. 

"In one trip they can make as much as they can |in one year from 
farming," Supoj said. The growing demand for drugs among Thai addicts 
has, indeed, taking its toll on the army who appeared to be 
over-stretched from taking up two jobs - securing the border and 
fighting drugs. 

Just last week as the Third Army mobilised its troops to retake nearby 
Hua Lone hill from the Wa and Burmese troops, army officers admitted a 
"balloon affect" has been created - while one area is being squeezed, 
drug trafficking pops up in other spots along the border. 

So where is the Burmese government troops in all of this? "The local 
Burmese officers are well aware of the illicit activities being carried 
out by the Wa and some of them benefit directly from the drug trade," 
said Colonel Chanchai Sundarakes, Third Army deputy chief-of-staff. 

"We bring this up with them but they always say they don't have control 
over the Wa's activities," he added. 

The UWSA came into being in 1989 following the fall of the Communist 
Party of Burma, in which the Wa faction had served as foot soldiers. 
Burmese security chief Lt-General Khin Nyunt rushed to sign a cease-fire 
with the group in order to neutralise a 20,000-strong army. In return, 
the Wa were given the green light to expand their heroin empire down to 
an area adjacent to the northern Thai border. 

Along the way, they clashed with archenemy Khun Sa and the MTA, 
hastening his surrender in January 1996. 

But today, instead of opium and heroin for the world's market, 
methamphetamine pills have been added to the shopping list of the 
traffickers. And the market is the streets of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and 
other major cities in Southeast Asia.  

The demand for methamphetamines, locally known as yaa baa, has risen in 
recent years and the amount being produced does not seem to satisfy the 
growing market.  
Chanchai says the amount of trafficked methamphetamines has jumped from 
20 million tablets in 1998 to somewhere between 400 and 600 million this 
Chanchai claimed that more than 30 clandestine heroin and 
methamphetamine labs are situated along the northern Thai Burmese. 

Lt-Colonel Peeranate Temkhem, head of the Third Army's Pha Muang Task 
Force intelligence unit, said major shipments of methamphetamines and 
heroin are expected to be coming through in the next few weeks. He 
pointed to the increase in the price of grade 4 heroin, which jumped 
from Bt230,000 to Bt280,000 for a unit of 700 grammes, which suggests a 
shortage of supply, as well as to what appears to be a growing demand 
for methamphetamines. 

Many Thai army officers along the border admit their fight has been an 
uphill one.  
The Wa's drug money has not only built roads and irrigation systems for 
Shan State, but is being channelled to legitimate businesses directly 
under |them. 

"They (Wa) are not just looking to get the drugs across the border. They 
are looking to expand their empire to other areas that are beyond most 
people's reach," Peeranate said.


TV Myanmar (SPDC): News conference explains Wa leaders briefings in Mong 
Yawn Mongyun

May 18, 2001

[Original in Burmese, Translated by FBIS] 

A news conference on the Mong Yawn region of the Wa peace group in Shan 
State East was held at 0900 this morning at the Defense Services Guest 
House on Inya Road in Yangon [Rangoon]. It was attended by U Tin Win, 
minister at the Prime Minister's Office; Maj Gen Kyaw Win, deputy chief 
of the Office of Strategic Studies [OSS] and deputy director of the 
Directorate of Defense Services Intelligence [DDSI]; Deputy Information 
Minister Brig Gen Aung Thein, Brig Gen Khin Aung Myint of the Ministry 
of Defense, heads of departments and officers from the OSS, news and 
information officers from the Ministry of Information, U Sein Win, 
patron of the Myanmar Foreign Correspondents Club [MFCC]; U Sao Kai Hpa, 
chairman of MFCC, and members; correspondents from the Myanmar Times, 
and invited guests. Lt Col San Pwint, acting head of department of the 
OSS, first explained that delegates to the Ministerial Meeting and 
Senior Officials Meeting of the Signatory Countries to the Memorandum of 
Understanding on Drug Control in East Asia and Pacific Region and the 
High-Level Bilateral Meetings on Drug Control and local and foreign 
journalists toured the Wa peace region in Mong Yawn, Shan State East, on 
13 May. This conference had been called to brief the news agencies and 
responsible officers of periodicals who were not present at the 
briefings by the Wa leaders. 

He explained the background history of the Wa peace group, its regional 
development efforts, the goal for complete drug eradication in the Wa 
region by the year 2005, the success of short- and long-term crops 
cultivation as part of opium crops substitution scheme in Mong Yawn 
region, irresponsible allegations from Thailand about Mong Yawn as the 
site for the production of stimulant drugs, the concrete situation which 
prove these allegations are baseless, and the invitation by the Wa 
nationals to any one with official permission to visit their region 
without hindrance. The news conference ended at 0950 after OSS Deputy 
Chief and DDSI Deputy Director Maj Gen Kyaw Win and Acting Department 
Head of OSS Lt Col San Pwint replied to the questions from the 
journalists. Afterwards, the journalists viewed maps and photos on the 
situation after the capture of Par Chi [also spelled as Pachee], the 
cultivation of lychees in Wanhon, construction projects in Loi Hsan Saw 
region, development projects in Mong Yawn, reclaimed land in Mong Yawn, 
paddy warehouses which had been alleged by Thailand to be the sites for 
narcotics production, a briefing hall in Mong Yawn which had been 
described by Thailand as a five-star hotel, buildings in Mong Yawn 
Market alleged by Thailand to be narcotics production sites, and 
hydro-electric power stations claimed by Thailand to be factories for 
narcotics production.


British Broadcasting Company: BBC Seeks Burmese Translator Presenters

   The BBC World Service is the best known and most respected 
international broadcasting organisation in Burma and the world. 
Broadcasting for one hour and fifteen minutes every day, programmes 
cover news and current affairs as well as features.

      We currently have opportunities for Translator Presenters.  Salary 
dependent upon skills and experience.

      We need Translator/Presenters to cover periods of staff shortage. 
The work will be of an ad-hoc nature and will not  constitute regular 

      Working as a member of the team, you will be required to translate 
news bulletins and other current affairs material  from English into 
Burmese and read at the microphone. 

      In addition to having an up-to-date knowledge of the political, 
social and economic conditions in the target area, you  will need 
Burmese as your first (or equivalent) language; good English, the 
ability to translate quickly and accurately,
 good IT skills and a voice suitable for broadcasting. 

      Shortlisted applicants will be asked to complete a written and 
voice assessment. If you are interested in the above,please contact us 
for further details and a job description at: Recruitment Office, BBC 
World Service, Bush House,  Strand, London WC2B 4PH, U.K, Tel. 020 7557 
2898 or you can e-mail karen.thompson@xxxxxxxxx quoting reference 47203. 
Completed application forms to be returned by Wednesday 23rd May 2001.


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