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BurmaNet News: September 14, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: September 14, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 01:44:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
September 14, 2001 Issue # 1883
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*BurmaNet: New York bombing reactions--Regime silent, Unocal donates
$100,000, exiles extend condolences
*Far Eastern Economic Review: Wordsmithery
*AsiaWeek Webfiles: Predictions, Observations and the Power of Nine Why
Myanmar confounds outside analysis
*VOA News: ILO Team Heads to Burma For Labor Probe
*Irrawaddy: Thai National Detained in Kawthaung
*The Associated Press: Some Land Mine Use Persists
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Thai-Burma Relations--Brothers but still
enemies, says traveler
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Lahu and Shan nabbed to prove Wa
innocence, say villagers
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Wa set up five new "factories" along the
*Irrawaddy: Burma Residents Feel Effects
*Burma Office Japan: The Irony of Fate--The situation of political
asylum seekers in Japan
*PD Burma: Calendar of events
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
BurmaNet: New York bombing reactions--Regime silent, Unocal donates
$100,000, exiles extend condolences
September 14, 2001
In the aftermath of floods in Thailand, the massacre of the royal family
Immediately after the mistaken bombing of the Chinese embassy in
Yugoslavia by US aircraft in 1999, Burma?s ruling regime issued a
statement offering condolences to China and deploring ?this grave
incident which tantamounts [sic] to violation of the UN Charter and the
basic norms of the International law.?
Condolences were also forthcoming to Nepal after the massacre of the
Nepalese royal family and to Thailand following deadly floods. A regime
official condemned the bloodless seizure of the Burmese embassy in
Bangkok by members of the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors saying
?terrorism is a scourge to all and that the international community
cannot condone terrorist acts under any circumstance. There can be no
exceptions.? In the wake of the most lethal terrorist incident in world
history, the regime thus far neither issued condolences to the victims
nor condemned the attackers. In contrast, Yasser Arafat and even the
Taliban have done both (whether they are sincere is another thing).
Formal and informal messages of condolences have been issued by Burma?s
government in exile and a number of individuals in Burma-related news
groups. Representative of the comments is one posted by a Burmese exile
now living in Indiana saying ?At the time of this tragedy in America, my
heart and thoughts go to the good side of America.? The poster also
suggests a reason for the regime?s silence thus far on the attack: ?We
should all note that USA was the first country to bring our fellow
Burmese students and refugees to get further opportunity to continue
with their lives and struggle for democracy and humane government at
home in Burma.?
The Irrawaddy, a magazine run by Burmese exiles provides coverage of the
attack?s impact on Burmese living in New York and Washington (see
Irrawaddy: Burma Residents Feel Effects, below) while the Internet
versions of regime-run newspapers and magazines ignore it completely,
opting instead for the usual fare such as accounts of how the regime has
?endeavoured for the all-round development of Yangon City by widening
and renovating the roads, constructing modern high-rise
buildings....and setting up new market centers for the convenience of
The Unocal oil company, which along with Total are the largest investors
in Burma has responded with a $100,000 donation to funds set up to aid
the victims and their survivors of the attack. Unocal?s generosity may
have an element of pre-emptive public relations damage control because
of the company?s past involvement with the Taliban. In 1998, Unocal was
forced to abandon plans to build a pipeline in Afghanistan after intense
pressure from women?s and human rights groups as well as coercion by the
United States government. The pipeline would have provided more than
$100 million dollars annually to the Taliban.
The attack on the United States is likely is likely to have contrasting
short and long term effects on Burma. In the short term, it looks
increasingly likely that the United States is lining up an international
coalition to eliminate the Taliban organization along with Osama bin
Ladin. As long as the coalition is focusing on what is likely to be a
major military attack or invasion of Afghanistan, anything else
--including pressuring Rangoon over forced labor and drugs--is likely to
be given scant attention. In the longer term however, the elimination
of pariah regimes like Milosevic?s Yugoslavia and now the Taliban
increases the ability of the international community to focus pressure
on hold-outs like North Korea and Burma.
Far Eastern Economic Review: Wordsmithery
Control over writers and the media seldom comes tighter than it does in
Burma, where freedom of expression is suppressed, often brutally. But
despite the hardships and risks a light still glimmers among the
country's literary and artistic communities.
By Brian Mockenhaupt/RANGOON
FEER, Issue cover-dated September 20, 2001
THE DRAWINGS are spare and simple, black on white. There are scenes of
village life, comic exchanges between a citizen and a police officer, a
child questioning a befuddled parent. But in each of the 200-or-so
cartoons stacked in a drawer at Maung Sun Than's home, there is
something forbidden. One insinuates government corruption, another hints
at Burma being left behind as the world moves forward. All of them made
it no further than the Press Scrutiny Board, the office that controls
every word and image published in Burma.
"They hate me," Maung says. He is sure that military intelligence knows
where he goes, whom he meets. His cartoons have made him a dangerous man
for a government that uses its near-complete control of information to
promote itself as Burma's best and only medicine--and stamp out anything
that says otherwise. "I am not from the opposition party. I am not a
rebel. I fight through intelligence," he says. "I am trying through the
thinking way. I am trying the knowledge channel."
That is as hard today as it has ever been. The censorship that started
when the military took over Burma in the early 1960s has become one of
the most prominent identifying marks of today's junta. The campaign to
control everything published inside Burma has spread well beyond
journalism to poetry, literature and film-making. Art exhibits must be
approved. Lyrics about politics and social change are snipped out of
Censorship has left an information vacuum here, with people knowing
little about what happens in their own country. The dozens of weekly
journals and monthly magazines dwell on entertainment, culture and
sports. There are no stories about government policies, living
conditions in Burma or dissident minority groups. Writing about
democracy is, of course, off limits. So is almost any form of criticism
of the government, even mentioning the electricity problems of Rangoon.
For the handful of daily papers in Burma--there were more than 30 in the
1950s--content is tightly controlled and centres largely on the
activities of the ruling generals.
And for those who don't behave, there is always the censor's pen, or
worse. According to rights groups, Burma is now imprisoning more than a
dozen journalists--in 2000 this was more than any other country. Because
of the risk of retribution, the names of several individuals quoted in
this article have been changed.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
And yet, there is a dynamic community of writers and artists in Burma
that has survived and, in some cases, thrives despite being under the
government thumb. Many can be found at the hundreds of outdoor teashops
that dot city streets. They discuss philosophy or postmodernism or, in
hushed tones, politics. Stories are assigned, manuscripts critiqued. At
one central Rangoon teashop, the owner serves up to 300 cups of tea a
day to the writers, composers and cartoonists who crowd around the low
tables along the street. "It's nice to have these people as customers,
but everyone is so emotional," the owner says. "Mostly they talk about
not being satisfied with their work and with the government."
The two go hand in hand. For this community there is no topic of greater
consequence, or frustration. Many of them push hard to get their message
out, to find a way around censorship, but there is the fear of going too
far. They are wary of speaking to or being seen with foreigners. They
are afraid for their families' safety. They are afraid of prison. "We
are afraid of everything here," says the editor of a weekly journal. "We
need more freedom."
The government's answer? You can't have it. Not yet.
Now is not the time for individual rights, like freedom of expression,
says the junta's spokesman, Lt.-Col. Hla Min. Now is the time for
community rights, stability, peace, a stronger economy--and he says the
two cannot happen together. "We are telling people to be more
understanding and patient. Myanmar is going through an evolution. We
don't want anyone to create a revolution," he says. "Some people say,
'Your country is not a democracy.' I say, 'You are speaking the absolute
He says: "We can't achieve what we need to achieve if we are too
democratic. Everyone walks in different directions so we have to push
and guide so everyone goes in the same direction."
CENSORS AND SELF-CENSORSHIP
Hla Min also plays down the bogeyman image of the Press Scrutiny Board,
Burma's censorship office. Without irony, he notes that much of the
censorship comes not from the PSB, but from the people themselves. "The
people are very used to the old socialist habit. They don't want to give
strong recommendations to the government."
Maung, now in his 40s, hardly agrees with that. He has plenty of strong
recommendations for the government, and a drawer full of
never-to-be-seen cartoons to show for it. "When I was a child, I wanted
to be a cartoonist to draw funny pictures. Now drawing funny pictures is
only the medium for carrying my ideas. I want to talk to the public," he
says. "I will try to stop their eyes and I will try to make it stick in
The trick, then, is reaching his readers without tipping off the
censors. Maung, who is paid $2 per cartoon and supplements his income by
drawing advertisements, compares his work as a political cartoonist to a
soccer match. He can only loft the ball in front of the goal; he must
rely on the reader to head it in. "I always estimate the condition of
the goalkeeper and the referee," he says. "The readers must jump very
high." If the message is too obvious, it will be censored; too obtuse
and the reader won't understand.
Like most writers and artists here, his work is a mix of metaphors and
symbolism, hints and innuendo. There is no other way. "Direct criticism
of the government is pretty much impossible to get away with," says a
Western diplomat who has worked extensively in Burma.
Added to this is the petty corruption. "You can't pay to get things
through that are politically dubious," he says, "but you have to pay to
get things through that are perfectly normal."
Under law, censors can snip anything detrimental to the government, the
economy, national unity, security or law and order. Incorrect ideas,
obscene writing and nonconstructive criticism are also prohibited.
There can be justification, then, for censoring almost anything, and the
censors will often err on the side of caution, rather than letting a
potentially offensive passage slip through and putting themselves at
risk. In recent years the government has also become more sensitive
about what and how often it censors. Previously, offending passages were
ripped out of a book or covered with ink. Now, prohibited material must
be replaced with new writing to give the appearance it has not been
This has created a powerful climate of self-censorship. Saddled with the
cost of re-editing a film or reprinting a magazine if a story is
censored, editors and publishers often do the work of the censorship
board. "The editor is the first censor," Maung says. "Their mind is
already censored." Likewise, writers and artists will change material to
suit the censors or not submit it. Many writers and artists have been
changed, and are doing what the government wants, Maung says. Others
have fled to Europe, the United States or Thailand where they can work
freely--or they have simply quit.
"People are less creative now because of censorship," says Kyaw Min Ya,
who has been writing short stories about family life and society for 25
years. "If I think my story won't pass, I won't submit it." Sometimes
she is lucky and the censors approve her stories largely untouched, but
she must use ambiguous words that only hint. "Right now," she says,
"it's a game of cat and mouse to avoid the censors." The effect, she
says, is obvious: the writing is less interesting, so fewer people read
Were Gen. Aung San alive today, he would no doubt cringe at these
policies--and he would find little favour with the junta. Aung San, the
architect of Burma's independence, and father of opposition leader Aung
San Suu Kyi, spent his youth as a newspaper editor and union leader who
rallied students in protest against the British occupation. Indeed, says
one of the country's most prolific authors, the general is being written
out of Burma. Before 1988, his face could be seen on currency. Not now.
"One day, no one will know who Aung San is," he says.
The author is gathered with a group of men over a pitcher of beer at an
outdoor café just down the street from Gen. Aung San's house--now a
museum--and right next to the censorship office. One of the men is a
government official, a few are book publishers. "It's very complicated,
literature today. It's not satisfactory," says the author, who writes
mostly about culture and religion. "The main factor is that office," he
says, waving toward the censorship building. "No one has freedom. How
can literature be successful if it is suppressed? How can it flourish?"
The government awards national literature prizes each year to books that
no one likes. Stores are filled with dozens of magazines and journals,
but they lack substance. "There are so many, but it is quantity, not
quality. We don't like such publications, but what we like, they are not
allowed to publish," the author says. "Good literature cannot be
produced at the moment." Asked if the situation will change any time
soon, there are hearty laughs around the table. "They censor for the
sake of themselves," the author says. "They want to live for a long
Cracks are appearing. The government has eased its rabid attacks against
Aung San Suu Kyi and an increasing number of Burmese have e-mail access.
Some of the local press has been allowed to run stories about the
country's HIV problem and visits by United Nations delegations. The
Myanmar Times, a new English-language newspaper, has written about talks
between the government and the opposition National League for Democracy
and about the need to introduce the Internet. Such leniency, it is
hoped, will filter down, giving the censors a lighter touch.
Maybe. But Maung is ready to wait a little longer. "The future is not
sure, but you must work every day," he says. "My job is to create a
beautiful future. If I have a chance to kick the goal, I must be ready.
If I am sleeping and fat and I have the chance, I will kick away from
the goal, so I must train every day." So he waits and he works and he
plays the game with the censors. But he longs for more. "It's like
eating a snack," he says. "It is not real food and I am hungry."
AsiaWeek Webfiles: Predictions, Observations and the Power of Nine Why
Myanmar confounds outside analysis
By DOMINIC FAULDER
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Web posted at 01:50 p.m. Hong Kong time, 01:50 a.m. GMT
"And now it's my turn to make a prediction," I announced to my small
group of newly found Burmese friends. It was payback time, and the
astrologer looked at me curiously. We were planted on stools so short we
might just as well have been squatting. My hands were resting palms up
on his tiny table. For the best part of 15 minutes he had minutely
scrutinized them, carefully measuring each line for his assistant to
plot in a grubby notebook. Ancient charts had been produced to
cross-reference my time, date and place of birth. As the astrologer, his
assistant and a volunteer translator proceeded with the meticulousness
of scientists observing an experiment, curious passersby along Sule
Pagoda Road had settled down beside us to hear what my future held. The
astrologer glanced around our little group as I finally chose my moment.
"My prediction is that if we don't disperse, we will all be arrested."
The translator rendered this in Burmese and everybody laughed.
Nevertheless, they quickly disappeared into the evening darkness. This
was Rangoon in the late 1980s with martial law in force. There was a
curfew and congregations of more than a few people were forbidden. As
one of the very few foreigners in the city, I was quite possibly being
watched by Military Intelligence even as my horoscope was being charted.
Maybe it's still in some file there. Who knows?
In Myanmar, astrology and numerology play such important roles in daily
life that they have to be taken very seriously. Perhaps even more than
Thais, Laotians and Cambodians, Burmese believe in auspicious moments
and the power of numbers. Outsiders do not have to share these beliefs
to see them at work. In Myanmar, the most powerful number is nine (and
its multiples). It is remarkable how many key dates in the country's
calendar and history include nine in one way or another. Armed Forces
Day is always marked on the 27th day of the 3rd month (27/3=9). The
State Law and Order Restoration Council staged its bloody coup on the
18th day of the 9th month of 1988 (18+9=27). The secretary general of
the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, was locked up at
home for six years on July 20, 1989, the 20th day of the 7th month. It
was the day after Martyrs' Day, the anniversary of her father Bogyoke
Aung San's assassination, but also happened to be one of the best
balanced days of the year (20+7=27; 1+9+8+9=27).
There are countless other examples of the power of nine in Myanmar,
including bank notes that at one time were denominated in bills of 45
and 90 kyats. This made counting your money harder than usual, and at
the very least was evidence of a different way of thinking. In the late
1980s, I decided to go with the flow and treat all this as a perfectly
rational method of ordering one's life. Thereafter, I consciously timed
my visits, whenever possible, to coincide with "power" days when
something momentous might occur. It worked surprisingly well,
particularly in July 1989. If I were expecting something to happen in
the next six months or so, I might consider the merits of Sept. 15 & 18,
Oct. 14 & 17, Nov. 13 & 16, or Dec. 12 & 15. Early next year, Jan. 4 is
particularly interesting for a number of reasons. There is also Jan. 22,
Feb. 3 & 20, and March 2, 9, 20 & 27.
Of course, I am not making any predictions here, just noting that these
might be among the days on which some important development could occur
in Myanmar. No more than that. One reason for this caution is Myanmar's
almost limitless ability to confound rational foreign analysis, much of
which is little more than wishful thinking. There is nothing new at all
about this. Readers of foreign academic texts about Burma in the 1970s
were constantly treated to highly plausible explanations about why the
closeted country was on the verge of opening up, albeit slightly. They
were always hopelessly wrong. Indeed, interpretations that outsiders
make about the Burmese political theater are usually so far off the mark
that to make a prediction almost invites its being disproved. In recent
decades, Myanmar's rulers seem to have positively reveled in being
contrary and doing the unexpected, whether it be suddenly changing the
side of the road vehicles must use, overnight demonetization or renaming
the country without any warning.
This unpredictability presents very special problems in bilateral
relations with other countries. When it comes to dealing with Myanmar,
other countries can hope and even prepare for change there, but they can
never expect or predict anything. Evidence of their contingency planning
should certainly never be mistaken for a mellowing or change of policy.
That said, there is little question that the dialogue which has been
going on for nearly a year between the junta and its most outspoken
critic, Aung San Suu Kyi, is a more encouraging development than almost
anything since independence from Britain in 1948. Which is not saying a
lot. But what evidence is there of any substantive progress beyond the
release of nearly 200 political prisoners and the re-opening of some
party offices? The releases are laudable, but skeptics point out that
many of those detained had already reached or passed their release
dates, and that at this rate it could take the best part of a decade for
all Myanmar's political prisoners to be released. Remaining detainees
include people like student leader Min Ko Naing, who has been
incarcerated since early 1989.
It the world of supposition, it is fair to assume that so long as Aung
San Suu Kyi believes she can secure the release of more of her
supporters, she will keep talking -- even if it is basically with the
gun of their detention to her head. Given the exceptionally fractious
nature of Burmese politics, whatever she does beyond that will invite
criticism from one quarter or another. She is as likely to be criticized
for conceding too much as for being too stubborn. This opens the debate
as to what would constitute substantive progress in resolving Myanmar's
political standoff. Is it the release of more prisoners, recognition of
the NLD's election victory in 1990, reconvening of a constituent
assembly to thrash out a new constitution, setting a date for a fresh
general election, or some kind of combination of all of these?
That's very hard to answer, and there is good reason to be on the
lookout for an attempt at some kind of fudge. As an example, look no
further than the 1990 general election. One of its most frequently
overlooked features is that its purpose was never made clear by the
junta, certainly not before and much less after, when the result was
totally ignored. Was the NLD-dominated body elected to be a constituent
assembly drafting a new constitution, perhaps ahead of another election,
or a functioning parliament with the power to nominate a cabinet?
Whatever, neither came to pass and the issue might now best be left to
If the past is beyond improvement, at least the future is always
amenable to it. Looking ahead in the short term, the release of
prisoners continues to remain the most encouraging sign of a glacial
thaw. It also establishes an important principle: by releasing some, the
junta has tacitly acknowledged that all could be released in a general
amnesty. There are amnesty precedents in the Ne Win era, and such a mass
release poses no real threat to national security. After all, the people
concerned may have been political activists to varying degrees, but not
even a handful could be termed terrorists. Almost perversely, the junta
has been much more inclined to trade peace accords and amnesties with
Myanmar's armed minorities.
An early general amnesty for political prisoners would be the clearest
possible sign of the junta's genuine intention to facilitate a
meaningful dialogue with a view to hammering out some kind of an accord
for national reconciliation. When such complex issues and historic
animosities are in the balance, accords just don't happen overnight. A
general amnesty, on the hand, is a relatively straightforward executive
decision that could be made tomorrow or at any auspicious time.
That's an observation, not a prediction.
VOA News: ILO Team Heads to Burma For Labor Probe
11 Sep 2001 22:04 UTC
The International Labor Organization or ILO is sending a high level team
of experts to Burma to evaluate the government's efforts to deal with
The three-week mission will begin on September 17.
The Burmese military junta promised to eliminate forced labor after the
ILO condemned the practice. The U.N. organization has been examining
forced labor in Burma since 1998.
Burmese authorities agreed to the group's mission in May following a
visit to Burma by an ILO official. A date for the mission was set last
The ILO group will be led by Ninian Stephen, a former governor general
of Australia and former judge at the International War Crimes tribunals
for Rwanda and Yugoslavia.
Other members of the team will be Nieves Roldan-Confesor of the
Philippines, Kulatilaka Ranasinghe of Sri Lanka and Jerzy Makarczyk of
Irrawaddy: Thai National Detained in Kawthaung
By Maung Maung Oo
September 12, 2001?A Thai national has been under detention in the
Burmese border town of Kawthaung since August 17 for unknown reasons,
despite possessing the legal documentation to cross into Burma,
according to sources in Ranong, a Thai border town opposite Kawthaung.
Nai Phra Chuap, 26, who is from Ranong, reportedly crossed into Burma in
search of his wife who lives in Kawthaung. At that time Burmese Military
Intelligence (MI) officers from unit 29 arrested him and charged him
under article 13/1 for allegedly entering a restricted area. Phra Chuap
has called on the Burmese authorities to notify the Thai-Burma Border
Committee regarding his detention in order to obtain legal
representation, according to a source close to MI unit 29. However,
Burmese MI officers have rejected his pleas.
Meanwhile, a source close to Lt Min Khant, the arresting officer in
Kawthaung, said that MI officers had approached Phra Chuap?s relatives
when they attempted to visit him and requested US $1500 for his
MI unit 29 is notorious in Kawthaung for extorting money from migrant
workers and traders who cross in and out of Burma each day, according to
sources in the area.
"They are like the Mafia around here," said an unidentified man.
Nai Phra Chuap remains under detention in Burma.
The Associated Press: Some Land Mine Use Persists
Wed 12 Sep 2001
GENEVA (AP) ? Some countries that signed a global treaty to ban land
mines are still using the deadly explosives responsible for maiming and
killing thousands each year, an international watchdog group said
Reports indicate that Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan may still be using
mines, according to the 2001 edition of ``Landmine Monitor.'' The
1,175-page study also said there were serious but unconfirmed
allegations about Rwanda and Burundi.
All five governments deny use, the group says.
The study, produced by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International
Campaign to Ban Landmines, will be presented next week in Nicaragua at a
meeting of countries that have ratified the 1997 treaty.
Landmine Monitor said several governments that have not signed the
treaty are thought to be using anti-personnel mines: Congo, Israel,
Nepal and Kyrgyzstan. In addition, there has been continued use of mines
by nongovernment forces in Afghanistan, India, the Philippines, Senegal,
Uganda, Somalia, Georgia and Yugoslavia.
Landmine Monitor said, however, that there had been major steps forward
in the fight to eradicate land mines, noting that trade of
anti-personnel mines has been almost completely halted, with no
significant shipment since 1998.
``The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the ban movement more generally are
having a major impact globally,'' the report says.
Since the treaty came into force, more than 27 million anti-personnel
mines have been destroyed by over 50 nations, including about 5 million
mines in the past year, the group said. It estimated that up to 245
million remain stockpiled by 100 nations.
China leads the list with 110 million mines, followed by Russia with 60
million to 70 million, the United States with 11.2 million, and Ukraine
with 6.4 million, it said.
Land-mine injuries have been recorded this year in 73 countries. The
greatest number of victims were in Afghanistan, India, Angola, Cambodia,
Iraq and Myanmar, or Burma.
The land-mine treaty has been signed by 141 governments ? nearly
three-quarters of the world's nations ? and ratified by 119. Among those
who have not signed are the United States, Russia and China.
Washington maintains that land mines are needed on the Korean peninsula
to deter North Korea from invading South Korea. Russia and China say
they need land mines for defense.
Shan Herald Agency for News: Thai-Burma Relations--Brothers but still
enemies, says traveler
September 13, 2001
A visitor from Shan State told S.H.A.N. this morning generals Chavalit
and Khin Nyunt might have become sworn brother as a result of the
latter's recent visit but the buildup in eastern Shan State has not let
"Most of the units brought up in February are still around," said the
source, "for example, LID (Light Infantry Division) 88 coming up from
Magwe, LIB (Light Infantry Battalion) 450 and LIB 481 (from Mergui) are
still in Kengtung."
He added that the said battalions appeared to be staying permanent.
"They have been busy dragooning free labor, roofings, timber and bamboo
from the local people," he said.
Apart from that he also saw 8 howitzers and 40 tanks arriving in eastern
Shan State during the height of the border conflict and was sure they
had not gone back across the Salween.
He also mentioned the recruitment program that began in May. "They do
not trust Shans and lowland Lahu," he said. "Highland Lahu are much
more preferred. Therefore instead of taking recruits from Shan villages
they demanded money so they could find them elsewhere."
However, the resulting scandals caused by the money-making activity have
temporarily halted the operation, he explained.
The Triangle Regional Command of Maj-Gen Thein Sein has been ordered to
raise up to 5,000 new recruits, reported LNDO, a Lahu information group.
Shan Herald Agency for News: Lahu and Shan nabbed to prove Wa
innocence, say villagers
September 11, 2001
Lahu and Shan nabbed to prove Wa innocence, say villagers The drug raid
that was carried out between 24-27 August by Burmese security forces
across Chiangrai was nothing but a feeble attempt to prove that Wa are
not drug dealers as generally believed, reported LNDO, a Lahu
"About 15 Lahu and Shans were arrested and told to say nothing that
would implicate the Army or they would face harsher penalties," it said.
According to Rangoon statement that was released on 1 September, 26
people and chemicals enough to make 800,000 pills were seized. Maj-Gen
Kyaw Win, #2 man in the military intelligence, said: "This raid has
proven that the Wa do not deserve the reputation they have".
However, LNDO claimed that there was nobody who did not know the Wa were
producing drugs under the protection of the Army.
"This is only an attempt to whitewash the Wa prior to Khin Nyunt's
Thailand visit," commented an informed sources from Tachilek.
According to him, the Wa produce about 40% of methamphetamines, the
Kokang about 30% and other miscellaneous groups the rest.
Shan Herald Agency for News: Wa set up five new "factories" along the
September 11, 2001
Since late last June, Wa groups under Wei Hsiaokang have established
five new laboratories, said informed sources from the area.
The five labs, 2 for heroin and 3 for 'yaba' methamphetamine, are
located 60-miles north of Tachilek in Khongkong (The Bend of Mekhong)
opposite Muong Singh of Laos. "It is only about 15 miles as the crow
flies from north to south," said a source. "But there are full of
mountains and valleys that it will take one at least one day to traverse
Apart from 200-strong Wa figters brought from the bases facing the Shan
State Army across Chiangrai and 1,000 Wa villagers, there are the
Burmese and local militia units guarding the area, they said.
Jakunee and Yawna's "Special Mobile Police force" of Monghpyak and
ex-MTA officer Parn Mawng's "Special Combat Police force" is known to be
active in the vicinity.
The quality of yaba is also reported to be higher than that manufactured
in the Wa capital of Panghsang near the Chinese border "That's because
Wei has access to better precursor chemicals from Thailand," said a
source. "The price is also competitive, B. 10 per pill (B. 11 in other
areas) and even B. 8 for regular customers."
Irrawaddy: Burma Residents Feel Effects
By Maung Maung Oo and Ko Thet
The Pentagon suffered major damage September 11, 2001 after a hijacked
airliner crashed into it
September 12, 2001?The deadly terrorist attacks yesterday in the United
States effected some Burmese nationals living in New York City and
Washington D.C. The attacks successfully brought New York?s World Trade
Center to the ground after two hijacked airplanes slammed into the
building as well as severely damaging The Pentagon in Washington D.C.
Zaw Zaw, a former member of All Burma Students? Democratic Front
(ABSDF), who now works as a computer engineer at the Pentagon, said
"When the plane hit the building I was about to leave for work and I
heard this huge explosion from my house, which is about a ten minute
drive from the Pentagon."
"When I arrived at the Pentagon, I heard another explosion from inside
the building. I think it might have been the plane?s fuel," he said.
"One of the air force officers asked us to evacuate as they thought
another plane was heading for the Pentagon," he added. "Only a few
Burmese work at the Pentagon and we are confident that all of them are
ok," he said.
One of the World Trade Center towers burns behind New York's Brooklyn
Bridge Ye Kyaw Zwa, a Burmese immigrant living in New York City, said
"We can usually see the World Trade Center (WTC) from our apartment. But
today the smoke was so thick we could not see anything."
"I have not heard about any Burmese deaths from the attack," he said. "
Yesterday was a little difficult because all the transportation around
the city had been shut down," he added.
A couple of Burmese work at food stalls and grocery stores near the WTC
but there are no reports of any Burmese deaths, according to other
Burmese sources in New York City.
Burma Office Japan: The Irony of Fate--The situation of political asylum
seekers in Japan
When we heard that Japan's foreign minister has asked the Burmese
authorities to free as many political prisoners as possible and take
other steps to improve relations with Japan, we were optimistic that the
Japanese new minister was initiating a new approach toward Burma. But,
it is irony if one looks at the situation of Burmese asylum seekers -
Wait a minute! The Japanese authority will never acknowledge that there
are any political asylum seekers in Japan. They will tell you that there
are only people who had applied for refugee status- It is significant
that 37 out of 156 applicants had been granted the Refugee status and 52
had been granted the Special Permission for resident so far (14 August,
2001). But six of the Burmese activist who are seeking asylum in Japan
have been detained at the detention centers, one of them has been
detained for more than a year.
There is one more irony. When in Burma, these people were under constant
nervousness for being afraid to be arrested, especially at the mid of
the night. The same is happening to them after they fled from the
country where the whole population is prisoners with in their own
country. Nearly all of them refugee applicant has to extend their
provisional release every month. Be careful you will be abruptly
detained with out any advance notice or warning. Whenever they go for
their extension they are nervous as same as they were in Burma. There is
solid reason to be afraid. At least seventeen applicants had been
detained so far. At least two of them had been detained twice. The more
scary for them is even they were released at last; they had to deposit
millions of Yen for guarantee. It means if you were arrested two things
will be sure to be happened. On is you were detained indefinitely or
perhaps deported or the other is you had to make ready millions of Yen
for deposit. Even after depositing million of Yen and released from
detention uncertainty still prevail for years. It seems that the
Japanese government toward refugee is deliberately design to deter
people to seek asylum and to depress asylum seekers to drop their claim.
There is one more irony here. Japanese government is eager to claim
humanitarian concern on their engagement policy toward Burmese Military
junta. But fail to use the same concern toward asylum seekers. When the
Japanese Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka met in Hanoi with Burmese
Foreign Minister Win Aung, during an annual conference sponsored by the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations, she said Myanmar's contention
that it faced "internal problems" wasn't an excuse not to make progress.
But her government not seem to be interested in make any progress toward
the asylum seekers.
PD Burma: Calendar of events
September 12, 2001
September : UN Special Rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro to visit Burma.
September : ILO Assessment Mission on forced labour to Burma.
September 1st : Burmas intelligence chief, Lt General Khin Nyunt, will
make an official visit to Bangkok.
September 12th : Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand:
Panel--Unraveling Burma's Crisis. Bangkok.
September 21-23rd : The Fifth Annual Working Conference of the Free
Burma Coalition American University. For More Information, Contact: Free
Burma Coalition at info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
December 1st : Worlds Aids Day
December 8th : World wide celebration for the Nobel Peace Prize for
Aung San Suu Kyi.
December 10th : 10th Year Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize for
Aung San Suu Kyi.
February 2002 : The fourth Bangladesh, India, Burma, Sri Lanka and
Thailand-Economic Cooperation (BIMST- EC) meeting, Colombo.
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