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BurmaNet News: November 6, 199

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"=20

The BurmaNet News: November 6, 1996
Issue #562

Noted in passing:=20

=09=09...we continue to do business with the (Burmese) generals=20
=09=09who think nothing of helping big-time drug dealers push=20
=09=09their poison. Is this not hypocrisy at its worst ?- Singapore
Democratic Party chief, Chee Soon Juan. (see: AP: =09=09=09=09OPPOSITION AC=


November 4, 1996 (Mainichi Daily News)


Letter from Burma (No. 47) by Aung San Suu Kyi

This is getting absurd.  The road to my house keeps getting blocked and
unblocked and then blocked again with the agitated rhythm of a demented
yo-yo.  Let us recapitulate the events of the last month.  The first time
the barricades went up was at midnight on Oct. 7, the barricades were
removed.  Then at midnight on the 11th, the road was blocked off again.
This second blockade lasted until 4:30 p.m. on the 21st. Later at night,
around 9:30 p.m., the road was blocked off again.  "Possibly there is some
method in their madness" was all I could think as I went to sleep.  The nex=
morning I discovered that the road had been unblocked at 3 o'clock in the
early morning.  That day, the 22nd, was a normal working day: well, more or
less normal by NLD standards, with people coming over the exchange notes on
how they had been chased and beaten by security personnel, how they had bee=
taken into detention and how they had been released.  At midnight that very
day the road was blocked off yet again.
There are slight variations from one blockade to the other.  The first time
I was free to come and go, and key members of the NLD executive committee
were allowed to come to my house.  The second time, I was still free to com=
and go but others were not allowed in except on the 19th, when I made my
usual monthly offering to monks in remembrance of my father.  U Aung Shwe,
our NLD chairman, and our two deputy chairmen, U Kyi Maung and U Tin U, and
their wives were able to join in, for the ceremony.
The second blockade was a busy time for us as a number of party meetings
had to be conducted at various venues.  It was on the day we finished our
fourth meeting that the road was opened again at the unexpected time of 4:3=
p.m.  (I have written about the fact that such events as the arrest of NLD
members and the closing and opening of roads tend to take place in the dead
of night.)
The third blockade which started at midnight on the 22nd found us quite
blas=E9.  The next morning, a Wednesday, I got ready to go out to see where=
should hold the meeting that had been scheduled to take place at my house.
But just as I was about to leave, the military intelligence officer in
charge of security in my house came to convey a "request" to the effect tha=
I should not go out that day.  A civil request deserves a civil response, s=
I said that would be all right provided those who had to attend the meeting
were allowed to come to my house.  This was arranged speedily enough but
when U Aung Shwe and U Tin U arrived I discovered that U Kyi Maung was not
with them.  He had been taken away early that morning before dawn.  I also
discovered that the MI officer had asked them to request me not to leave th=
house for few days.
We were given to understand that U Kyi Maung had been taken away to be
questioned in connection with the latest student unrest that had erupted in
the Rangoon Institute of Technology a couple of days previously.  Two
students had come to my house on Tuesday and explained to U Kyi Maung what
had happened.  The authorities were quick to jump to the conclusion that
there must be some link between the NLD and the student troubles.  This is
quite normal.  The authorities tend to lay anything that goes away in the
country at the door of the NLD.  We are often amazed at the extent of the
influence which the authorities imagine we have upon the course of events
within Burma.  Their obsession with our organization sometimes reminds us o=
the words of a song: "Asleep, my thoughts are of you; awake, my thoughts ar=
of you. ...."
"Business as usual," we chatted and carried on with our work in the surreal
atmosphere of a house arrest that was not a house arrest.  We listened to
BBC and VOA broadcasts to find out what was going on in the big wide world
outside the fence of 54 University Avenue and heard to our surprise that th=
authorities had claimed I was free to come and go as I pleased.  This claim
was particularly ludicrous in view of the line of uniformed guards standing
at attention in front of the gates of my house.  We told our MI officer
about this official statement and it was conceded on Friday afternoon that =
was in fact free to come and go as I pleased but, of course, I would be
"escorted," which was really nothing new.  By that time, I had already
missed a couple of appointments.
Saturday was for me the beginning of our annual light festival.  Our young
people made simple, candle-lit lanterns from bamboo and cellophane in
yellow, green, red and blue and that evening and the next, we hung them
along the fence.  We also let off fire balloons and set off sparklers.  Our
pyrotechnic activities were of an extremely modest order but there was a
certain charm in keeping a traditional festival alive in the midst of restr=
On Monday afternoon, U Kyi Maung was released and the road to my house was
unblocked.  For the time being.

(This article is one of a yearlong series of letters.  The Japanese
translation appears in the Mainichi Shimbun the same day, or the previous
day in some areas.)


November 3, 19996

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo in Burmese 1100 gmt 3 Nov 96
Text of report by Burmese opposition radio

It has been learned that five soldiers were killed on 22nd October,
including one sergeant from No 282 LIR [Light Infantry Regiment], which was
newly formed in September to protect security camps of the Yadana gas
pipeline. The No 282 LIR, presently stationed at Nateindaung, is responsibl=
for the security of the pipeline between Nateindaung and Zintha.
At about 1100 on 22nd October, an unknown armed group launched a machine gu=
attack against the Ayemyitthar security camp, killing at least five
soldiers, including one sergeant, and seriously wounding 13 others.
This is the first time the security camps have been attacked since a civil
law suit was filed against the US oil company UNOCAL, which has shares in
the pipeline project. A Total [French oil company] base camp in Ohnbingon
was attacked in February.

The attack came amidst the SLORC's [State Law and Order Restoration Council=
expansion of the security forces in the region to 10 regiments.


November 5, 1996

     YANGON, Nov. 5 Kyodo - Twelve people detained Sunday in a
demonstration at a road junction have been released, an official of
Myanmar's ruling junta Tuesday.
Asked about the rumored arrest of several people Sunday evening
during a demonstration, Lt. Col. Hla Min of the government's
intelligence department said 12 people were detained and all had been
released by Monday evening.
Roadblocks leading to pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's
house were reinforced Saturday evening but were lifted Tuesday
On Sunday evening, around 400 people approached a roadblock on
Kaba-Aye Pagoda road to attend the usual weekend public addresses of
National League for Democracy (NLD) leaders.
Local authorities told them to disperse and most did so around 5
p.m., while some others assembled at another road about 1 kilometer
away.  Authorities again told the crowd to disperse at 6 p.m., and
arrested several persons who refused to leave.
The government has put up roadblocks every weekend since Sept.
27 to prevent public meetings between NLD leaders and supporters who
come to listen to their speeches.


November 5, 1996

   SINGAPORE (AP) _ Singapore's main opposition party Tuesday
accused the government of hypocrisy for promoting harsh anti-drug
laws while doing business with Burma's military regime, which it
said actively supports ``big-time drug dealers.''
But more than hypocrisy this affects ``the lives and deaths of
our nation's children and youths,'' the Singapore Democratic Party
said in a statement by its chief, Chee Soon Juan.
It was Chee's latest salvo in the war of words between the
government and the normally passive and fragmented opposition.
The controversy erupted last week when Chee demanded an
explanation from the government about an Australian television
program that raised questions of morality about the Singapore
government's investments in a Thai-Malaysian venture capital fund,
the Myanmar Fund, which promotes hotel projects in Burma.
The Oct. 12 program by Special Broadcasting Service said an
alleged Burmese drug lord, Lo Hsing Han, and his son, Steven Law,
also were linked to the Myanmar Fund, in which the Singapore
government acknowledges holding a 21.5 percent stake worth $ 10
The documentary said the two men are allowed to freely come into
Singapore, but Singapore has refused to confirm or deny that.
The government has also defended the investments as ``completely
open and above board,'' dismissing suggestions of drug links as
It also accused Chee of being a traitor, saying he apparently
supported the allegations by allowing a sound bite from a speech he
made earlier this year to be used in the Australian program. In the
speech, Chee had criticized Singapore's position as the second
biggest foreign investor in Burma after Britain.
In Tuesday's statement, Chee asked if criticizing the government
means disloyalty to Singapore.
``Loyalty to Singapore must mean that the welfare and the
interests of Singaporeans come first, and any action by the
government that jeopardizes this must be questioned and closely
examined,'' Chee said.
He said Singapore jails and canes drug addicts. ``And yet we
continue to do business with the (Burmese) generals who think
nothing of helping big-time drug dealers push their poison. Is this
not hypocrisy at its worst,'' Chee asked.
Drug traffickers are hanged by Singapore.
Singapore defends investing in Burma, saying its policy of
``constructive engagement'' is a better way to persuade the
military junta to promote democracy, rather than isolating it as
advocated by the West.


November 5, 1996

There has been a recent shift in Thai-Burmese relations. Human rights and
democracy are taking on a new important, complicating negotiations
surrounding sometimes thorny border issues.

The newly appointed Burmese ambassador to Thailand Hla Maung is faced with =
new trend in Thai-Burmese relations as Thai policy makers raise questions o=
human rights and democracy.

Like his predecessor Tin Winn, a former lieutenant colonel who was promoted
to ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Hla Maung turned to diplomac=
after a long stint in intelligence work.

As a former full colonel, Ambassador Hla Maung had a higher military rank
than Tin Winn, and his appointment indicates that Rangoon is paying special
attention to bilateral relations .

An ambassador who previously served a military intelligence unit can use hi=
contacts with top brass in Rangoon to bypass diplomatic channels, said
Burmese officials.

Hla Maung, in an interview, said he came here with the mission to promote
better ties with "no obstacles to block the building of friendship.

Unlike his predecessors, he does not only have to contend with traditional
border issues. Human rights and democracy have been added to the bilateral
and regional agenda as international concern runs high on these issues.

The clearest indication of the new trend came in Foreign Minister Amnuay
Viravan's recent observation that Burma would need "some time" to prepare
for membership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and linked
this to its ability to bring peace and order to the country.

Mr Amnuay also urged the junta to complete its constitution drafting proces=
and hold general elections in order to be internationally recognized.

Veteran diplomat and Deputy Prime Minister Kasem S. Kasemsri did not set
democratization as a condition for Burma's ASEAN membership, but said
Thailand was taking the democratic path and advocated democracy in "other

The remarks of Mr Amnuay and M.R.Kasem differ from Thailand's position in
the past, which was in line with other ASEAN countries by keeping silent on
the problems in Burma on the grounds that they were Rangoon's internal affa=

They coincided with the increasing international pressure on Burma, which
has been severely criticized since the crackdown on prodemocracy forces in
late September. Action includes the ban on visa applications from Slorc
members by the European Union last week.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations also groups Brunei, Indonesia,
Malayasia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

It remains to be seen whether Thailand's new stance will  have any impact o=
bilateral relations, which are being improved.

Tensions have eased since Khun Sa surrendered early this year. Rangoon in
the past never failed to accuse Bangkok  of assisting Khun Sa's Mong Tai
Army, whose headquarters is only 30 kilometres form Thailand's northern bor=

Rangoon was also successful in making Bangkok meet its demands to demolish
shophouses which Rangoon saw as encroaching on an agreed no-man's land in
the Moei River in Tak province, and returning a  river channel to its
previous condition before work started on the Friendship Bridge in 1989.

In addition, Thailand satisfied Burma by taking legal action against the
killers of two Burmese crews aboard Thai vessels.

The visit to Burma by Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa in March also mean=
Thailand is paying attention to Burma in terms of trade, investment and as =
good neighbor.

The only thorny issue remaining between the two countries is Rangoon's
unfinished talks with Karen rebels living along the border. Ambassador Hla
Maung, however, played down any existing disputes, saying they could be
tackled using existing mechanisms.

The lack of continuity in Thailand's foreign policy, which relies on the
politicians holding  power on the day, might explain the new envoy's lack o=
concern about how much pressure Thailand places on Burma.

But he criticised the media for their negative reporting about his country
as this had led to misunderstandings between the two governments.

If Burma is like a pot of soup, he said, "we should not look only at the
bottom which is burnt".

"We should also see the whole pot and look for something good and delicious
to eat," he said.


November 5, 1996 (abridged)
Associate Press

MANILA : International action is needed to force Burma into democratic
reforms before the conflict there destabilizes Southeast Asia, former
Philippine President Corazon Aquino said yesterday.

Aquino told an Asian prodemocracy conference that political repression by
the military regime in Burma "is bottling up fumes of discontent that may
soon turn noxious and burst violently across the land."

The two day conference was attended by more than 100 delegates from 18
countries, and was sponsored by the Forum of Democratic Leaders in Asia
Pacific, a non-government group espousing democratic ideals.

Sein Win, prime minister of a US -based Burmese government in exile, said
clashes between civilians and riot police deployed by the ruling State Law
and Order Restoration Council have erupted in Burma and could worsen.

"It is becoming more clear that the generals are not capable of responding
to political developments in Burma in any way except by force, ' Sein Win s=

"If left to the generals, the situation in Burma could explode and affect
the stability of the Asia Pacific region," he said.

Sein Win added that international groups, especially the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations trading block, should try to defuse the tension and
ensure a peaceful transition from a dictatorship to democracy.


November 5, 1996
By Michael Sheridan

=09The enigmatic and poverty-stricken nation of Laos is becoming a=20
new crossroads in the international heroin trade as corrupt Burmese army=20
generals and Chinese gangsters cash in on the weakness of its nominally=20
Marxist-Leninist government.

=09Khun Sa, the ethnic Shan warlord and heroin trader who fought the=20
Burmese troops for years, is now comfortably established in Rangoon,=20
Western sources say.

=09There he enjoys the compliance of senior army officers in running=20
supply routes through the jungles of Laos and via remote border passes to=
the international drugs market.

=09"Khun Sa is supposed to be retirement, but you can forget that,"=20
said an international expert on the heroin trade in Vientiane.

=09The Laos Government's tiny anti-narcotic unit, set up with=20
American help, recently discovered two heroin and amphetamine=20
laboratories near the Burmese border, a sign that drug refining=20
operations are expanding into Laos.

=09The break-up of Khun Sa's tribal army into feuding factions has=20
also split its distribution networks and sent brokers hunting for new=20

=09The result has been an epidemic of drug abuse in southern China -=20
which even executions and purges seem unable to halt - and an outbreak of=
heroin addiction in Cambodia.

=09Renewed evidence of involvement by the Burmese military in the=20
enormous south-east Asian drug trade will provide Western countries with=20
another reason to isolate its shadowy regime.

=09Burma is now the world's leading producer of opium, the base for=20
heroin, with an estimated annual output of 2600 tons.

=09Laos produces only a fraction of that amount but is still the=20
world's third largest opium producer after Burma and Afghanistan.

=09Years of war in Indo-China, followed by dependence on Russia and=20
Vietnam after 1975, have left Laos in abject poverty, virtually living on=
opium and foreign aid.
=09The derisory salaries paid to soldiers and officers from the=20
government=92s all but empty treasury make corruption and collusion with=20
opium and heroin traders inevitable. Per capita income is less than $400=20
a year.

=09In a subsistence agricultural economy too primitive to measure,=20
opium is believed to be the country's biggest export earner.

=09America and the United Nations are running successful programs in=20
Laos to encourage the hill tribes to grow other cash crops, but these are=
limited in scope and funding.

=09Although the United States Government is taking the leading role=20
in urging Laos to crack down on opium, the trade results largely from its=
secret war in Laos between 1964 and 1973.

=09Then the American air force dropped more bombs on the Ho Chi Minh=20
trail in eastern Laos than fell on western Europe in World War II - an=20
average of one load every eight minutes for nine years.

=09This left Laos with the most unexploded ordinance of any country.

=09The CIA also sponsored and organized Hmong hill tribesmen to fight=20
the communist Pathet Lao, funding covert operations through opium and=20
heroin runs in Thailand, Burma and Laos.

=09Today the Hmong and Mien tribes remain the main opium growers in=20
Laos. Diplomats in Vientiane believe Lao exiles and fanatically=20
anti-Communist Thai business magnates are behind continued funds flowing=20
to Hmong insurgents.

=09The CIA long ago lost interest in Laos. Today there exists no=20
military threat to the rather half-hearted "proletiane dictatorship" that=
holds sway over the charming streets of Vientiane, where most local=20
enthusiasm is reserved for Buddhist worship at numerous temples.

=09Bandits regularly attack traffic on the main route north from=20
Vientiane to the second city of Luang Prabang.

=09Opium poppies are cultivated in the hills around Luang Prabang,=20
then brought by foot and pack animals to dealers.

=09It is a system as simple as the old Ho Chi Minh trail - and no=20
easier to defeat.



BurmaNet regularly receives esquires on a number of different=20
topics related to Burma. If you have questions on any of the=20
following subjects, please direct email to the following volunteer=20
coordinators, who will either answer your question or try to put you=20
in contact with someone who can:

Campus activism: =09zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Boycott campaigns: [Pepsi] ai268@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    =20
Buddhism:                    Buddhist Relief Mission:  brelief@xxxxxxx
Chin history/culture:        [volunteer temporarily away]
Fonts:                  =09=09tom@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
High School Activism: =09[volunteer needed]
History of Burma:            zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
International Affairs: =09 Julien Moe: moe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx=20
Kachin history/culture:      74750.1267@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx=20
Karen history/culture: =09Karen Historical Society: 102113.2571@Compuserve.=
Mon history/culture:         [volunteer needed]
Naga history/culture: =09Wungram Shishak:  z954001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Burma-India border            [volunteer needed]
Pali literature:            =09 "Palmleaf":  c/o burmanet@xxxxxxxxxxx
Pipeline Campaign       =09freeburma@xxxxxxx
Resettlement info:=09refugee_help@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx=20
Rohingya culture=09=09volunteer needed
Shan history/culture: =09Sao Hpa Han: burma@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shareholder activism:       simon_billenness@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx=20
Total - France=09=09Dawn Star: cd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx =20
Tourism campaigns:      =09bagp@xxxxxxxxxx     "Attn. S.Sutcliffe"  =20
volunteering: =09=09refugee_help@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
World Wide Web:              FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx

Geographical Contacts:

[Feel free to suggest more areas of coverage]



This single page serves only as an easy to remember URL and departure
point to resources promoting the establishment of democracy in Burma.
Please write to FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx to add a site or for further
information." - Glen, system administrator


to get involved in the Free Burma Coalition, send a message to:
zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx =20

or visit their homepage, accessible through: http:// FreeBurma.org

There is also an e-mail list-server especially for Free Burma activists


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