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BurmaNet News: September 14, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
           September 14, 2001   Issue # 1883
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*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 
in Nepal, 

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 
rock songs. 

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. 


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." 


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 
their memories." 

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 

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 
forced labor.  
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 
immediate release. 

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 
information group.  

"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."  

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

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

September 2001

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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