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BurmaNet News: November 25, 1996

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies" 

The BurmaNet News: November 25, 1996
Issue #576

Noted in Passing:

		"Drug traffickers ...launder their money with impunity in 			banks
controlled by the military," - Robert Gelbard, US 
		narcotics official on Burma


November 25, 1996

At noon today, Hillary Clinton gave a half hour address at Chiang Mai
University.  In her speech, which dealt primarily with issues of health,
education, and prostitution, she also mentioned Burma.  After thanking
Thailand for taking care of almost 100,000 refugees from Burma, she stated
that while everyone wants them to be able to go home soon, they cannot go
back until there is a genuine political dialogue between the SLORC and Aung
San Suu Kyi.  


FEER: CAUGHT IN THE NET - US sanctions debate moves to cyberspace
By Nigel Holloway in Washington
November 28, 1996

Want to find out about Burma without leaving your chair? Easy: Get on the
information superhighway and key in "Burma". First stop is a Web site
(http:// freeburma.org) provided by the Free Burma Coalition:" A collection
of software, hardware, documentation and volunteers, all doing what we're
best at to hasten the replacement of the current military government".

Welcome to the world of Internet activism. In 1989, it was television that
brought Beijing's Tiananmen Square protests to the world's living rooms.
Now' the Internet is the messenger. And while the Burma-sanctions lobby is
probably the first of its kind to take full advantage of the Net, it surely
won't be the last.

"Cyberspace spawned the movement to restore human rights to Burma," says
Mike Jendrzejczyk, Washington director of Human Rights Watch/Asia. "The
proliferation of information has put Burma higher on the U.S. policy agenda
than it ever would have been otherwise."

It might do the same for other such causes. There are already Web sites
protesting Chinese actions in Tibet and Indonesian domination of East Timor.

They were encouraged by the success of the Burma lobby in Washington. In
September, lawmakers passed a bill that would allow the president to ban new
U.S. investment in Burma if he determines that the military junta, known as
the State Law and Order Restoration Council, or Slorc, "has committed
large-scale acts of repression."

To be sure, the law isn't as strong as it might have been. It was watered
down in July after a last-minute effort by lobbyists representing U.S.
businesses in Burma.

But the fact that American firms were forced to launch a rear-guard action
illustrates the power of the Internet and of the small number of activists
dotted around the country who sent a flood of e-mail to their
representatives on Capitol Hill.
"This is a new form of communication, so if you start bombarding the Net,
Congress will pay attention," says Ronald Palmer, a southeast Asian
specialist at George Washington University in the nation's capital.

The anti-Slorc campaign shows that, thanks to the Internet, activists don't
need lots of money or people to make an impact. Students at more than 100
universities have organised Free Burma groups or something similar, usually
with the help of a handful of volunteers in each place.

More than 60 universities held a Free Burma Fast in October to protest
against Slorc. And students from as far afield as New Delhi, Sydney, London
and Tokyo are communicating with each other on the subject of Burma, via the

At the centre of this network is Zarni, a 32-year-old Burmese exile studying
for his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. He spends 15 hours a day
at his computer, weaving together his Free Burma Coalition Web site,
complete with colourful logo and photographs of conditions inside Burma.

The Internet has facilitated a change in anti-Slorc strategy. In the early
1990s, student activists in America focused their efforts on persuading U.S.
companies to withdraw from Burma, with partial success. Firms such as Eddie
Bauer and Levi Strauss pulled out, and PepsiCo sold its bottling plant in
Burma (although it continues to supply syrup to the plant).

In 1994, attention turned to Capitol Hill. At that time only a handful of
domestic organizations were active on the Burma trail. But they began to
lobby their senators and representatives to support legislation co-sponsored
by Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New
York that would  have applied sanctions on Burma for human rights abuses.

Two things favour the activists. First, few U.S. companies do business in
Burma, and those that do are mainly oil and gas concerns such as Unocal.
These firms wield clout, but not as much as the hundreds of concerns working
in china and lobbying against efforts to tie Beijing's trading status to
human rights issues.

What's more, the students aren't alone. Also squaring off against U.S.
companies over Burma are the American trade-union movement, church groups
and one or two wealthy individuals such as billionaire investor George
Soros, whose Open Society Institute in New York sponsors a pro-democracy
programme on Burma.

The second factor working in the activists' favour is that 'most people
don't know Burma from schmurma," says Larry Dohrs, Seattle coordinator of
the Campaign for a Free Burma.

"People don't have preconceived ideas, and the arguments are relatively
stark." This can be an advantage in Congress, where a small number of  
committed lawmakers can wield disproportionate influence among the remainder
open to persuasion.  

Foreign policy is always a backburner issue," says a human-rights lobbyist on 
Capitol Hill who asked not to be named.  "What people don't realize is that 
500 letters  to a congressman aren't necessary.  If members of Congress get 
10-15 letters on a specific issue, it's significant."

As the debate on the McConnell Moynihan sanctions bill neared, the Burmese 
government was arresting opposition politicians and issuing thinly veiled
threats against the leader of the democratic movement, Aung San Suu Kyi. The
chances of getting a tough sanctions measure through Congress had never
seemed better.
Yet when it came to a Senate vote in July, the measure lost by 54 votes to
45. Instead, senators adopted a weaker measure that leaves it to the
president to decide whether to impose sanctions on Slorc. The stronger
measure would have imposed sanctions as soon as the bill was passed.

In the end, it was the Clinton administration's support for the watered-down
version that won the day. That, plus lobbying of the old-fashioned kind by
influential people representing the oil firms investing in Burma. Of these,
none is more powerful than Tom Korologos, president of the Washington
lobbying firm Timmons & Co and an old friend of Bob Dole, the Republican
presidential candidate. An assistant for Korologos confirmed that Unocal is
a client. In the days before the vote, Korologos was paying personal calls
on key senators asking for their support, according to a human-rights
activist.  But a staffer for one such senator declined to confirm this. "I
can't touch it," he says.

Now the two sides of the sanctions debate (Burma's government has its own
Web site: http:// www. myanmar.com) are lobbying the Clinton administration
on whether to implement the sanctions law.  And the anti-Slorc group has been
busy sending e-mail messages to the White House urging the president to
raise the issue of Burma on his Asia trip that was to being on November 19.
"The administration will not make a final decision (on sanctions) until
after President Clinton comes back" from the region, says a US official.

Whatever the outcome, international activism will never be the same. (FEER)


November 24, 1996 (abridged)

RANGOON - Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday
defied a government blockade around her house and  spoke to
pro-democrat supporters on a  street about one kilometre away.

She addressed a gathering of about 500 supporters for five minutes,
departing in  her white limousine before four truck  loads of riot police
arrived on the scene. The Crowds dispersed without incident.    

"We are not here to create unrest. The reason  for our being here
is to show unity and solidarity with the people," she told her supporters. 

"We will continue to do what needs to be done in order to  reach our desired
goal," said Suu Kyi. "In doing so we shall be guided by compassion and not
by anger. We bear no malice towards anyone," she said, before urging the
gathering to disperse in a "peaceful and orderly manner".

She was accompanied by Aung Shwe, the chairman of her National
League for Democracy  (NLD),  which swept the last general
elections to be held in Burma, six years ago, the results of
which were never ratified by the ruling military junta.

Also present were the co-vice chairmen of the NLD, Kyi Maung and
Tin Oo, who was injured by flying glass during the motorcade
attack on Nov 9, which the NLD believes to have been  executed by
a government-sponsored mass organisation.

Authorities had resumed the blockade manned by traffic police
about 200 metres either side of Aung San Suu Kyi's house on
University Avenue early yesterday. Apparently resigned to the
obstruction to her weekend addresses, which had been a regular
weekend event attended by thousands since her release from house
arrest in July, supporters now gather at an intersection to the
east of her house.

The  pro-democracy leader was  greeted with applause and shouts
of a"Long live Aung San Suu Kyi," as she arrived.

"It was quite unexpected but we're she happy came out," said
one supporter who requested anonymity. "We've been waiting for
many weeks now to hear her speak. Our wish was granted today," he said. 


November 24, 1996 (Thailand Times)

RANGOON: Burma's main  opposition National League for Democracy
(NLD) held a meeting yesterday of some 200 party members to
condemn an attack on November 9 on their  leader Aung San Suu Kyi.            

The one-hour meeting at  Aung San Suu Kyi's suburban home was
chaired by NLD chairman Aung Shwe and included party
representatives elected in the  abortive 1991 elections, party sources said.

Party members used the meeting to condemn the attack on Aung San
Suu Kyi, in which men wielding sticks and throwing stones
attacked the NLD leader's  motorcade as she tried to meet with
supporters outside her; home.

NLD vice chairman Tin Oo was injured in the assault, which was
strongly condemned by foreign governments including the United  States. 
After the meeting, at which Aung San Suu Kyi was conspicuous by
her absence, Tin Oo put the blame  for the incident on the ruling State Law
and Order Restoration Council, as the military junta is officially known.

"Though Suu Kyi was not hurt, her car was badly damaged by stones and
sticks," he told a small group of reporters. "This attack (was) a conspiracy
and premeditated."

A resolution passed at the meeting decided that similar gatherings would
take place at an unspecified date across the country to condemn the incident.
The NLD has already issued an official inquiry into the attacks,
which Aung San Suu Kyi has blamed on the Union Solidarity and
Development Association, a government sponsored mass movement.


November 24, 1996
Yindee  Lertcharoenchok

THE United States is in a "great dilemma" on how to deal with the
narcotics production in Burma, as its priority concern in the
country is the improvement of human rights and democracy.

Gen Barry McCaffrey, director of the US Office of National Drug
Control Policy, confessed during a press conference here on
Friday that he did not know how Washington will cope with the
estimated 2,300 metric tonnes of Burmese opium produced per year
and the subsequent trafficking of heroin - a derivative of opium
to the world market, including the US.

With the US commitment to democracy, human rights and rule of law
in Burma, Washington is having "great difficulty" dealing with
the drug problem there, he said.

"It is not clear to me what [the US] will  do because for the
present, the dominant concern in the US is ... the human rights
situation confronting the Burmese people. And I don't know where
we will go," said the top US drug policy maker. "We are facing
such a dilemma in our commitment to democracy. We simply  don't
have a way to move ahead as long as democracy and human rights
issues remain are in front of  us,"  he added.

The retired general, who was appointed to the key anti-drug
position in February, said the human rights situation in Burma
barred Washington's ability to cooperate more fully with the
ruling Burmese junta known as the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (Slorc).
Despite the  Slorc repeated claims of success in the eradication of opium
cultivation, McCaffrey remained sceptical that production has decreased. As
long as the hill people in Burma continue to base their survival  on opium
cultivation, international criminal enterprises will continue to buy  the
illicit crop, he said.

Global opium production is about 4,000 metric tonnes a year, and
Burma is the world's largest opium and heroin producer. Burmese
opium production generates some 230 metric tonnes of heroin about
60 per cent of the world's production of the drug. Roughly 10
kilogrammes of opium produces one kg of heroin.

Foreign anti-narcotic aid to Burma, including that of the US, was
cut off after the Burmese military coup in September 1988.
Although Washington has retained its diplomatic mission in
Rangoon, bilateral counter-narcotic cooperation is limited to the
presence of a few American law enforcement authorities in Burma.
McCaffrey did not rule out the possibility of the US reconsidering the
resumptions of its anti-drug assistance programme to Burma.
He said such a "policy alternative" was a legitimate point to consider.
Prominent Burmese drugs traffickers are gaining legitimacy, the
American anti-drug chief pointed out, adding that these criminals
launder their ill-gotten cash with impunity through legitimate
businesses in Burma and other countries in the region.

He said effective "weapons" to deal with these traffickers and
other international criminals were the enforcement of compatible
conspiracy laws and international legislation against
money-laundering, asset forfeit and seizure.

"Now what we better do is crack down on their money and seize
that. I think we have that capability, [but] we have to build it
in accordance with national laws," he said.

Robert Gelbard, US assistant secretary of state for international
narcotics and law enforcement affairs, pointed out that Burma's
most important narcotics traffickers no longer hole up in jungle
hideaways. Instead, they are buying real estate in Rangoon and
Mandalay, investing in Burma's economy and openly courting
military officials, Gelbard said in his article published in the
Nov 21 issue of the Far Eastern  Economic Review. 
"The Burmese junta has brazenly exploited drug trafficking more,
to finance projects that do little to improve the lot of the
Burmese. Drug traffickers and their families are among the
leading backers of high-profile infrastructure projects in Burma.
They launder their money with impunity in banks controlled by the
military," wrote Gelbard. 


November 23, 1996
Yindee Lertcharoenchok 

THE Burmese junta has strongly rejected the new United Nations
special rapporteur's human rights report, saying it is "Flawed"
in concluding that "systematic violations of human rights are
widespread and condoned by the government".

In the Nov 15 statement delivered at the UN General Assembly, in
response to an Oct 8 report submitted by Rajsoomer Lallah,
Burmese Ambassador to Pakistan U Pe Them Tin said his delegation
was "deeply disturbed" by the report's implications.

The ruling Burmese State Law and Order Restoration Council
(Slorc), he said, had in the past rejected such reports and is
doing so with the current one.

Lallah, who was appointed UN special human rights envoy on Burma
in June, also said on Nov 15 that he had categorically pointed
out that various existing Burmese laws, by themselves, violate
international norms and charters in the field of civil and
political rights. He also elaborated in detail on the continuing
"repressive political climate" and violations of human rights in
Burma. Ambassador Pe Thein Tin questioned the reliability of the
sources of information used by Lallah and rejected the UN envoy's
remarks that the Slorc did not cooperate with the UN.
Lallah, an Oxford-educated judge from Mauritius and an
experienced lawyer in civil and political rights, said in his
report and oral statement that since his appointment he had
approached Slorc twice for permission to visit Burma to
investigate the human rights situation, but the regime has not
yet responded to his requests. In a separate report to the annual
meeting of the UN General Assembly, UN secretary-general Boutros
Boutros-Ghali, who was assigned to assist the democratisation
process in Burma, also complained that his representatives were
unable to visit Burma.
"It has never been the policy of the Myanmar [Burmese] government
to systematically repress its own people and to condone human
rights abuses. Allegations contained in the report [by Lallahl
invariably originate from dissident groups and sources in and
outside the country. These allegations should be discarded
outright," he said.

Apart from Pe Thein Tin's intervention, the Slorc also submitted
two other documents to explain its version of the political and
human rights situation in Burma. The documents were intended to
counter critical reports by Lallah and Boutros Ghali.
In both reports, the Burmese junta described its achievements in
political, economic and social areas since it came to power after
the September 1988 coup d'etat and its continuing efforts to
improve conditions in those fields.

In the document on human rights  questions, Burmese Ambassador to
the United Nations U Win Mra said his representative had
"rejected all negative elements" in the draft resolution on Burma
when it was debated in December last year and also insisted that
there existed no grounds for the continued consideration of the
Burmese human rights situation "in view of the positive evolving
situation in the country".

He said the Slorc would not only reject any "intrusive draft
resolution" made this year, but "will also respond to it in a
manner commensurate with its tone and tenor".

Win Mra claimed that the Slorc "has, in fact, never arrested or
detained anyone  arbitrarily" as charged by the UN and human
rights activists and that action is taken against only those who
violate existing laws. "The government has been unfairly
criticised recently in  its efforts to maintain  law and order.
This criticism is grossly misleading," he said.

He denied that over 260 members of the National League for
Democracy (NLD) were arrested and detained, claiming that they
were only called in "for a brief questioning" to prevent anarchy,
and later released. 


November 21, 1996 (International Herald Tribune)

General Khin Nyunt   Burma: An Inside View of the Military's Control

Two decades Burma was shut off from the rest of the world under the
military dictatorship of General Ne Win. In 1988, after he announced his
retirement, the doors burst open and riots raged throughout the country.
Within months, the military quelled the protests by forming the State
Law and Order Restoration Council. In 1990, the council, under
Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, allowed elections, resulting in an
overwhelming majority for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League
for Democracy. Six years later, Burma is still under military rule,
languishing in poverty and accused of numereous abuses of human rights.
In Rangoon, General Khin Nyunt was intereviewed by Barbara Victor, an
author and journalist.

IHT: After Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for
Democracy, won the majority of the vote in the 1990 elections, why did
you refuse to relinguish power?

SLORC: When we first assumed responsibility in 1988 the situation was
unimaginable. The country was on the verge of chaos and anarchy, which
was the reason the armed forces assumed responsibility, to prevent the
country from slipping into disintegration. Since that time we have been
trying our best to build up our country to have a firm foundation of
economic development in accordance with our aims.

We also look at our situation in terms of geopolitics since our
neighbors are two of the most populous nations in the world -- China and
India. Our government has spent a lot of money for the development of
border areas, trying to dispel mistrust and suspicion by raising the
standard of living. We are also taking measures to eradicate opium by
crop substitution. While we are implementing the necessary reforms in
the political system, we are also introducing a new economic system, and
although our country has natural resources, we are lagging behind in
capital as well as in technology.

IHT: There have been many accusations that your government denies people
basic human rights. How do you respond to thos accusations?

SLORC: Although our government is in the form of a military government
or military junta, we are not suppressing the people. We are trying our
best as an interim government to achieve political stability and economic
development as well as bring about improvement in the social sphere.

IHT: What about specific accusations such as forced labor and forced
relocation of people?

SLORC: People who have not been to the country before have an impression
that we are brutal and cruel, they regard us as oppressive, as if we are
ruling the country by force, as if there are no human rights in the
country. Why such a perception? This is essentially because the
information they get is through the media and also because the
information they get is not directly from us, the source is from third
partieis and as you know, there are groups in New York, Los Angeles and
Washington who are against us and the information theyare providing
cannot be positive to us. Another source of wrong information is the
armed groups operating along the border with Thailand.

IHT: Not only did your government ignore the election results and refuse
to allow Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to leade the coutnry, but also put her
under house arrest for six years and still continue to arrest memebers
of her party. How do you justify your actions?

SLORC: She is trying her best to hinder our progress/ If she were to try
to make our work successful, it would be best for everybody but
unfortunately she is not. She is trying to cause political confusion and
instability and unrest when we have peace and tranquility in our country.

IHT:  What is your most serious criticism of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?

SLORC: Aung Suu Kyi was not here for most of her life, so naturally she
cannot understand all our problems. After her father passed away, she
went with her mother at the age of 14, when she was appointed ambassador
to India, and later she left for London. From that time she drifted
apart from our country and didn't regularly come back to our country.
She married an Englishman and settled down and became more apart from
the country. If she had come back and worked for the country and married
a Myanmar citizen, she may have been able to become a national leader.
But when she came back in 1988, at our invitation to care for her
aililng mother, the Communist Party cells saw her as a great advantage
because she is the daughter of a national hero. They beclieved that if
they could push her into the front and take advantage of her position it
would serve their purposes.


November 22, 1996  (slightly abridged)
By Rajan Moses 

    KANBAUK, Burma, Nov 22 (Reuter) - French oil giant Total SA 
facing fierce opposition to its involvement in military-ruled Burma, is
engaged in a different kind of standoff in the remote jungles of the
impoverished Asian country. 

    It is fighting to tame the thick jungles of southeastern Burma to cut a
path for a 63-km (39-mile) gas pipeline that will join another from the giant
Yadana field in the Andaman Sea to pump gas overland to Thailand in 1998. 

    Total is also trying to win over thousands of poor Mon, Karen and Burmese
villagers living in the area who are baffled by a sudden strong foreign
presence in their midst and the pipeline that will change their lives forever. 

This has been one of our most difficult onshore projects. The terrain
is so rough we have had to ship all our equipment in from Japan, Malaysia and
Singapore,'' said Herve Madeo, general manager of Total Myanmar Exploration
and Production (TMEP) during a press tour of the pipeline site. 


    There is big money for the project owners from mid-1988. 

Of the $400 million income generated annually in already-contracted gas
sales to Thailand for 30 years, Burma's cash-strapped ruling State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC) will get 50 percent. 

    Total officials said Burma will start to realise the $200 million annual
revenue from the gas, after deductions for expenses from 1998, in the year

    The project has been dogged by controversy from the time it was signed in
1992. Human rights groups have accused Total of collaborating with the SLORC
to suppress freedom and promote forced labour. 

    The groups say Total is using forced labour recruited by the SLORC in the
pipeline area which runs through the forested southeastern Tenasserim
district. They say the work is damaging the lush environment there. 

    Burma's democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has described Total as a
strong supporter of the SLORC which has denied her movement the right to
hold gatherings and harassed hundreds of her supporters. 

    Total has denied all the accusations. ``We know there is controversy over
the project but part of the controversy is because of misinformation from
these groups,'' said Joseph Daniel, Total's vice-president for public affairs. 

    Total's new and air-conditioned Kanbauk base camp, carved from the
jungle, houses the nerve centre of the onshore pipeline laying operation.
Helicopters are on standby for survey work and providing access to remote

    Bulldozers, heavy trucks and many thousands of tonnes of gleaming special
steel pipes imported from Italy have arrived by barge at Total's busy wharf.
Earthworks to lay the pipes are under way as a winding path is sliced through
the red earth. 

    ``We will start laying the pipes this month and work will be finished
around May next year,'' said Madeo, adding that about $600 million of the
billion-dollar project had already been spent. 

    The tough job of laying the offshore pipeline in the depths of the sea
from the Yadana platform will begin in mid-1997 and finish by the end of the
year, he added. 

    Despite foreign reports of resentment among villagers, an attack on the
project by rebels and major environmental problems, Total's 1,700 expatriate
and Burmese workers move about freely. 

    Burmese soldiers patrol the fringe areas which once used to be their
battlefield against Mon and Karen rebel guerrillas who have been pushed
further away. 

    Madeo said the only attack was in March last year when five members of
the pipeline team were killed and several wounded. SLORC troops provide
security in the outer corridor of the project. Security on the inside is
Total's responsibility. 

    Total pays Burmese workers recruited from villages more than 200 kyats
($1.25) a day, a sum which goes a long way in the remote area. 

    Compensation, lavish by rural standards, from a $700,000 budget is being
paid to move people living on the pipeline's route. Total is also funding
projects aimed at raising local living standards. 


November 23, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) -- In a reprise of the movement that isolated white-ruled
South Africa, a growing number of state and local governments now penalize
companies that do business in Burma -- and the pressure appears to be working.

Motorola and Philips Electronics quietly have joined a corporate pullout
from Burma, a Southeast Asian nation where a military junta has crushed

Next week, Massachusetts steps up the public pressure by releasing a list of
companies that will be at a disadvantage when bidding for state contracts
because of ties to Burma, which calls itself Myanmar.

Activists say the recent corporate defections are signs of headway in the
budding economic protest against the Burmese government.

The Massachusetts law adopted in June is the first such state sanction
targeting Burma, but eight cities have approved similar measures -- two of
them last month. The movement resembles the attack on businesses dealing
with South Africa in the apartheid protests of the 1980s.

In the first high-profile case stemming from the latest ``selective
contracting'' laws, anti-Burma activists this week were trying to knock
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries out of contention for $136 million people-mover
project at San Francisco's city-owned airport. Mitsubishi has interests in a
Burma pipeline.

``These laws are now hitting companies where it hurts -- in the bottom line
-- and they're beginning to respond,'' said Simon Billenness, senior analyst
for the Franklin Research and Development Group, a Boston-based firm that
manages investments it considers socially responsible.

But activists are far from declaring victory.

For one thing, many of the businesses that are leaving have little more than
a beachhead in Burma. Motorola has a single manager in Rangoon, who is to be
transferred by year's end.

For another, Burma's economy is relatively small. Its attraction is mostly
to oil companies. Burma's imports from the entire world totaled $1.6 billion
in 1995; Indonesia, also criticized by human rights groups, bought twice as
much that year from the United States alone.

Also, some companies -- most notably, PepsiCo -- have been criticized for
jettisoning their Burmese holdings but continuing sales in Burma through
outside distributors.

Philips, the Dutch electronics company, said it stopped limited direct sales
in Burma, but will continue to deal with importers serving the country.

In addition, it takes time to wage such protests.

``We know from our work on South Africa that this may be something that's in
process for 20 years or so,'' said Brenda Bateman, who directs the Burma
Project for the Investor Responsibility Research Center in Washington.

The IRRC was formed 20 years ago to track corporate affiliations in South
Africa. Its latest report lists 234 companies with ties to Burma, 58 of them
based in the United States.

The IRRC list is a major source for Massachusetts and the cities with Burma
laws: Ann Arbor, Mich., Carrboro, N.C., Madison, Wis., Takoma Park, Md., and
Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Monica, Calif.

Massachusetts has advised companies listed by the IRRC about the law, which
assesses a 10 percent penalty on new bids from businesses with Burma links.

While companies currently doing business with Massachusetts are on the list,
none has a contract bid pending, said Philmore Anderson, the state's
purchasing agent. The businesses had until Friday to challenge being on the
state's bidding sanctions list, which is due out next week.

Companies are taking the law seriously.

``Their actions have not gone unnoticed,'' said an official at a company
that had received a letter from the state and spoke on condition of
anonymity. ``I think every company on that list is addressing the issue one
way or another.''

Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola says the Burma pullout is part of a series
of cutbacks forecast earlier this month.

``It's not a political decision. It's a cost-cutting decision,'' spokeswoman
Margot Brown said.

Philips cites the ``difficult situation and general uncertainties'' in Burma
as a reason for its move.

Companies that already had left Burma include Carlsberg, Heineken, London
Fog, Eddie Bauer, Levi Strauss, Petro-Canada, Amoco, Liz Claiborne and
Columbia Sportswear, Bateman said. Those resisting pressure include Unocal
Corp. and Total SA of France, both oil businesses.

Even when a law passes, there's no guarantee it will be carried out as
backers wish. In San Francisco, draft regulations appear to exempt
construction firms, like Mitsubishi.

``Now the struggle will be not to allow anyone to worm out of it,'' said
city Supervisor Tom Ammiano, one of the law's sponsors.


November 24, 1996
Subin Khuenkaew

Three ethnic Shan groups that split from former drug warlord Khun
Sa may launch terrorist attacks if the Burmese government ignores
their demand for independence.
A source in an ethnic group said yesterday that the Shan United
Restoration Army (SURA), the Shan State Army (SSA), and the Shan
State National Army (SSNA) signed an  agreement on September 23
to set up  a new political wing -the Shan State National
Organisation (SSNO),
The three sides reached the agreement on the new organisation,
which will have a combined force of about 10,000 troops, at their
new stronghold near Sipor town, northwest of Chiang Tung, near
the Burma-China border. 

Although the SSA and the SSNA  had a temporary ceasefire
agreement with the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
(Slorc), the  source said neither group had handed over their
arms to the junta.       

Both groups agreed to join forces  with the Sura which plans to
push for the independence of the Shan state.

The groups viewed that the 300 sacks of rice and about 200,000
kyats in cash that the Slorc gave them each month in return for
their cooperation would not last long, the source said.
Sura deputy secretary-general Zao Oot told the Bangkok Post at a
temporary location near Chiang Tung yesterday that his army is
pushing for independence because the Slorc treats villagers in
Shan state poorly.

Sura still has many modern weapons bought by Khun Sa. If the
Slorc rejects the ethnic groups' demand for negotiations on
independence, our joint force will launch terrorist activities in
such major towns as Mandalay and Tachilek, or even in Rangoon
itself to undermine Visit Myanmar Year," said Mr Oot.
He said his army still disagreed with  Khun Sa's decision to
surrender to the Slorc.
Many villages in Shan state support the independence movement and
Sura intends to fight for it, even though it earns less since
halting all drug trafficking activities, he said.


November 24, 1996

We the ABSDF have learned that Mr. Bill Clinton the President of the United
States of America will be coming on an official visit to Thailand from
25th-27th  November.

On behalf of entire people of Burma, the ABSDF would like to express our
heartfelt greetings to the President, Mr. Clinton, whose visit, we believe,
will bring many positive benefits to the region of Southeast Asia, including

The people of Burma who long for freedom from the repressive military regime
that rules our country will be greatly encouraged by the arrival of the
leader of the world's foremost democracy, to this region.

We the ABSDF would like to urge Mr. Clinton to convince the governments of
Burma neighbourings that genuine democracy, peace and development in this
region will come about only by protecting human rights and eradicating the
production and trafficking of drugs.

Similarly, the ABSDF hopes that the President will clarify the policy of the
United States towards the Burmese dictatorship and will express his
recognition of the struggle of the people of Burma for democracy and human
rights under the leadership of  Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Central Executive Committee