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BurmaNet News: December 17, 1996

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News:  December 17, 1996
Issue # 593


December 16, 1996
It's Time For The International Community To React On the
Suppression Of The Burmese People By The SLORC

1) Former Activists Being Rounded Up

As the blockade of the University Avenue leading to Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi's house enters its 10th consecutive day, the military  government is
continuing its crackdown on the pro-democracy  activists. 

ABSDF sources inside the country reported as of yesterday that 
Wai Lin, former Central Executive Committee (CEC) member of the  Democratic
Party for New Society (DPNS), Ko Toe, a leading member of the All Burma
Federation of Students Union (ABFSU - Upper Burma), Dr. Hla Myint who was
involved in the 1975 U Thant Funeral Strike, and Cho Seint, grandson of
Thakin Ko Daw Hmine  (late famous poet and freedom fighter against the
British colonial rule), have been detained. Another activist named U Hla
Shwe was detained for questioning and released one day later. He has been
and cast in jail on an uncountable number of occasions for his activism. 

The ABSDF believes that the detention of Ko Toe and Wai Lin is due to their
close association with Moe Thee Zun, Vice-Chairman of the ABSDF.

Other former activists who have been jailed previously are also being
rounded up and questioned in an attempt to connect to the  current

2) More Than 100 RIT Students Are Being Treated At the RGH

According to an unconfirmed report from sources in downtown
Rangoon, more than 100 students are being secretly treated in a special ward
in Rangoon General Hospital (RGH) for wounds sustained during the violent
crackdown on their peaceful protests. Sources close to the RGH told ABSDF
that groans can be heard the special ward. Hospital visitors, who were
previously free to come and go are now being strictly checked, since the
arrival of the students. No house surgeons (medical students interns) are
allowed to go into this ward; only senior doctors are permitted entry.

3) Schools Remain Closed, Exams, National & International Sports
Meets Postponed

As of yesterday the schools and universities remained closed with the
exception Institute of Medicine 1 (IM1) (Lanmataw Campus). A report said
that students of the MI1 demanded that dates of the closure and reopening of
the schools be officially announced and  that an independent student union
be formed.
Students who go to their educational institutions are turned away by the
security forces. To date the military regime has made no official
announcement regarding the closure of the universities and colleges. 

Students from provincial towns have been forced to go home, and  as of
yesterday only about 15-20 students remained at the Institute of Medicine 2

Schools exams scheduled for 14th-15th have been postponed for fear of
further protests. 

An international marathon meet and a national traditional boxing
championship scheduled for the same period have been postponed indefinitely.

4) The SLORC Is Investigating Biographies Of the Children Of Teachers And
Civil Servants  

In an effort to prevent the participation in the protest of the children of
teachers and civil servants, who are students at various educational
institutions, the military regime has been checking their biographies. It is
easier for the military to curb the activities of these students by putting
pressure on their parents. 

It is learnt that the SLORC also distributed free rice and other materials
to civil servants. This was seen by the residents of  Rangoon as another
attempt to woo the civil servants in order to encourage them not to identify
with the student

5) Ardent Supporters Waited In Vain For The Lady
For two days, supporters of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi gathered at the Gwittalit
Intersection to see her and hear her speech on the latest situation of their
country. ABSDF sources in the area reported that a large number of people,
including tourists and  reporters, waited for her both on Saturday and
Sunday. They left at about 5 PM when they were convinced that Daw Suu would
not be able to make it for the day because of the continuation of the road

6) Tanks Remain Parked And Troops Patrolled Streets Of Rangoon

Four tanks remained parked in the compound of the city hall as another day
passed without any sign of demonstrations in Rangoon. Another batch of 6 tanks
were parked in front of the Jubilee Hall where an historical exhibition
about the Burmese military is on show. Jubilee Hall is situated near the
newly-opened Burmese market to promote 'Visit Myanmar Year'.

SLORC soldiers in 6 military trucks, including a Bren Carrier, continue to
patrol the streets of the capital, particularly the areas deemed to be troubled
spots. Neither police nor the feared Lon Htein (riot police) are said to be
included in these patrols.

As of yesterday, the road between Hlatan and Insein remained whereas Prome
(Pyi) Road was reopened to the public

7) State Of Fear In Burma

A tourist who arrived in Bangkok this morning told the ABSDF that tourists
cannot visit Sule Pagoda which is located in the heart of downtown Rangoon
opposite of the city hall. A couple of Australian tourists who tried to
visit the Pagoda were turned  away by the soldiers stationed near the shrine.

He also informed the ABSDF that Rangoon is full of military intelligence
service (MIS) personnel. An owner of a hotel asked the tourists not to talk
politics while in hotel for fear of being overheard by the MIS.

'Everyone is afraid', he said. 'They can now detain anyone they wish'. 


December 16, 1996

        Politics should not be an issue for international corporations,
says a spokesman for the California-based energy compay Unocal, the single
largest American investor in the Southease Asian nation of Myanmar. He was
replying to suggestions that Unocal pull out of Myanmar.  Business
executives as they like to point out, are not social workers.  But at
times a government is so repressive and a company's support of it so
significat that its presence cannot help but political. South Africa under
apartheid was such a country. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is
another, and Unocal should not be doing Business there.

        For sheer nastiness, few governments can compete with Myanmar's.
It winks at heroin trafficking. It forces citizens to provide slave labor
to build bridges and railroads. In 1990 the Government lost elections,
then imprisoned and harassed activistes of the victorious party, led by
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Last week the Government confined her to her house,
detained more of her colleagues and shut down secondary schools to stop
student protests. She has called for sanctions on her country.

        Myanmar, which has hard-currency reserves that can sustain the
country for less than three weeks, is vulnerable. Hence the importance of
Unocal's 28 percent interest in a pipleline that will pump gas from an
off-shore field through Myanmar to Thailand. The French company Total will
build the pipeline, and the Thai and Myanmar Government energy companies
also have stakes. Texaco and Arco also recently signed deals to drill

        As of last year, Unocal had paid the Government  $6.6 million in
signing bonuses. Such fees are normal, but what is not normal was the
bailout Unocal gave Myanar in November. The company provided $7 million
worth of fertilizer on credit to be paid back when the pipeline is
runing -- a small but important lifeline for the Government.

        Unocal may also be indirectly making profits from reprehensible
labour practices. The railroad that will transport Government troops to
protect the pipeline was built by thousands of forced laborers. Human
rights groups have charged that the Government relocated villages around
the pipeline and used forced labour to clear the land. Unocal denies those
charges. The Government has not yet permitted an independent

        Unocal is spending $1.6 million to build projects such as schools,
animal-breeding farms and a hospital, and has brought 12 doctors to the
area. These projects are welcome, but their good does not outweigh the
harm of Unocal's support for a government that does not do them on its

        Unocal argues that an Asian company would simply pick up its share
of the project if it pulled out. That is plausible, and underscores that
need for the United States to do more to lobby Japan and the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations, which has said it will admit Myannmar.

        But even this does not justify Unocal's continued engagement with
Myanmar's Government. Other American corporations, including Macy's and a
Disney clothing subsidiary, have already pulled out, responding to
publicity and laws approved by Massachusetts and eight cities that bar
contracts with companies doing business in Myanmar. Congress has passed a
law banning new investment if the crackdown intensifies, but the Clinton
Administration has not yet invoked it.

        The $200 million in annual revenues expected to flow to Myanmar's
Government when the pipeline is runing will dwarf the benefits produced by
other American investments. The pipeline's importance, and Unocal's
apparent willingness to help sustain the Government, undercut the argument
that constructive engagement can change the policies of the Burmese
leadership. Unocal may make a handsome profit in Myanmar, but it cannot
claim it is bringing change to this blighted nation.


December 16, 1996 (abridged)

Rangoon, Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has indicated that she will not
accept restrictions on her movements as she spent ninth consecutive day on
Sunday inside her Rangoon residence, following the most defiant civilian
protests here since 1988. 

With security still tight around the city following the demonstrations, her
National League for Democracy fired back against official claims the the
Nobel Peace Prize laureate  had failed to cooperate with authorities in
measures designed to insure her own safety.

" A serious request should not take on the nature of a restrictive order nor
should it entail the placement of physical barriers ," said a statement
signed by the NLD central executive committee .

Her residence on Rangoon's University Avenue has been blockaded since the
demonstrations for students' right began on the city's streets two weeks
ago. The NLD leader has not left has house since last Friday.

In response to a government statement circulated to embassies on Rangoon
earlier in the week, the Opposition leader, who was confined by the ruling
junta to her own home for six years until her release last July, denied she
had said her current confinement constituted house arrest.

" At no time did she claim that she had been put under house restriction,
however she pointed out that restrictions placed on her movement amount to
unlawful restraint," said the statement.

The statement further rebutted accusations from the ruling State Law and
Order Restoration Council that the NLD was connected to the students unrest.
High-ranking junta officials have compared the recent demonstration to the
civilian pro-democracy demonstrations of 1988 which were crushed by the
military. "The NLD supports all calls for justice and human rights and we
sympathise with the grievances of the students but we strongly protest against
unsubstantiated accusation," said the statement.

Rangoon was quiet Sunday although there were still a high security presence
and restrictions on access to the Yangon (Rangoon) Institute of Technology
in the north of city and at the Institute of Medicine downtown.

Armed troops have been patrolling the city at nighttime and five tanks that
were driven into the city Friday were still parked in front of city hall,
with combat-ready soldiers. Burmese observers said that the tanks were
intended as show of force to deter students still staying in the city. 


December 16, 1996
Rangoon, AP

Heavy security was lifted around a downtown Rangoon medical
school yesterday as the government has sent nearly all students
back to their homes in the countryside to quell demonstrations.

Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whom the government has
accused of fomenting the recent unrest, was still confined to her
home yesterday, disappointing about 200 of her followers who
hoped she would appear on the streets and speak to them.
Students have denied any link to Suu Kyi or her political party while they
staged demonstrations in Rangoon and Mandalay earlier this week.

Medical University No. 1, where security  was lifted yesterday, was the site
of several sit-ins during the last few days.  Students said police had
arrested three of them and the students were demanding their release. 

The school's dormitory appeared to be empty yesterday.

Burma's military government responded to the week-long
demonstrations by closing most schools, arresting some students
and members of Suu Kyi's party, sending students back home,
blocking off roads with troops and riot police and stationing
tanks in downtown Rangoon.

Despite some skirmishes with students during protests around the
city last week in which rocks were thrown and some youngsters
were beaten, the military's response was mild compared with the
brutality it unleashed in 1988, gunning down more than 3,000
protesters, jailing thousands and closing schools for three years.

Some analysts, while giving the military credit for restraining
itself, still cautioned against assuming its leaders had changed
their ways.


December 12, 1996

RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Aung San Suu Kyi's family will protest the military
regime's tourism campaign by not visiting her in Burma for Christmas, the
pro-democracy leader said Thursday. 

The military government, which renamed the  country Myanmar, has covered the
capital with posters advertising ``Visit Myanmar Year '96.'' 

Despite its name, the campaign didn't begin  until last month, and is to
continue through November 1997. State-run media said this week  that Burma
aims to have 300,000 visitors by then -- well below targets announced  earlier. 

Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize,  has called on tourists to
boycott Burma to protest the regime, which seized power in 1988  by killing
hundreds of demonstrators. 

On Thursday, she told The Associated Press her  family will stay away. 

``We've decided not to support Visit Myanmar  Year, and I don't want them
coming during Visit Myanmar Year,'' she said in a telephone  interview. 

Suu Kyi is married to Briton Michael Aris, an  Oxford professor. The couple
have two sons.

Aris and one son visited her last Christmas, the first since Suu Kyi was
freed from house arrest in July 1995. 


December 19, 1996
By Bertil Lintner in Bangkok

Cooler heads prevail in Rangoon protests

Eight years ago, a group of students from the Rangoon Institute of
Technology got into a fight with some locals over what music to play in a
tea-shop. The argument turned into a brawl. The police reacted by dragging
the students away and beating them up. Student demonstrations against police
brutality the next day soon developed into a nationwide anti-government

In October this year, RIT students once again had a quarrel with some local
people in a restaurant in Sawbwagyigong, north of Rangoon. The incident
caused another confrontation with the police - and once again the students'
protests quickly became political, leading to large street demonstrations in
early December.

On both occasions, pent-up frustration with Burma's authoritarian regime
needed just a small park to light a bigger fire. But history never repeats
itself in exactly the same way. Indeed, the difference between the events of
1988 and the recent demonstrations in Rangoon is striking, says a Burmese
source who witnessed both. Besides the fact that the recent disturbances
have not led to as widespread a conflagration as in 1988, both the students
and the authorities have also been more cautious.

The students are more restrained now, says a Burmese exile in Bangkok,
"because they are divided between those who raise political demands and
those who want to depoliticize the whole thing." The latter group, he adds,
"just want the right to set up an independent student union to safeguard
their rights."

On the other hand, eye-witnesses to the demonstrations, which seem to have
reached their peak on the night of December 6, assert that the initial
response of the authorities was also controlled. When the two sides
confronted each other at a major intersection in Rangoon, says an observer,
"the students shouted to the police: 'We want human rights and we're Burmese
like you, don't attack us!, whereupon the police actually retreated."

The 4,000-strong crowd dwindled as the evening went on, says a Westerner who
observed the demonstrations. By mid-night only a core group of 150 students
remained. University teachers were then brought to persuade the students to
go home. "It was only when that failed that the riot police moved in to
break up the demonstration, using water cannons," the eyewitnesses said.

Still, say sources in Rangoon, the demonstrations prove that Burma's
internal political situation remains volatile. Says one: "People are fed up
with the government's intransigence and they are frustrated with the ongoing
political statement. They want to see a dialogue between the government and
the opposition, but as yet there's no sign of that."

Will the latest outbursts change the generals' attitude towards the
opposition and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi? Not likely. Says as Burmese
dissident living abroad: "What the army fears the most is a split within its
ranks. Any dialogue with Suu Kyi would legitimize the opposition in the eyes
of the military - and that could mean the end of their precious unity. For
that reason, they won't talk to her." 


December 16, 1996

   RANGOON, Burma (Reuter) - Panic buying after this month's student unrest
in the Burmese capital has sent prices of food staples rocketing at least 10
percent, residents said Monday.

    Prices jumped after retailers took advantage of a sudden surge in demand
while tight security upset cargo flows from the provinces, they told Reuters.

    Local analysts and residents estimated prices, most notably of rice,
meat and fish, had risen by at least 10 percent across the board and hit the
poor the hardest.

    Earlier this month, university students launched the largest
anti-government street protests seen in Rangoon since the pro-democracy
uprisings of 1988 which the military crushed leaving thousands dead or in jail.

    Rangoon was calm Monday.

    According to food dealers, cargo shipments from the provinces into
Rangoon were continuing but security blocks along some roads in the capital
made it hard for even distribution.

    ``The market suddenly turned into a sellers' market when most people
rushed to buy rice out of panic,'' said Ko San Tin, a construction worker
from Dagon Myothit, a new satellite town northeast of Rangoon.


December 16, 1996

BANGKOK, Dec. 16 (UPI) - A group of Burmese students is demonstrating
outside their country's embassy in Bangkok (Monday) to protest against the
crackdown on dissidents currently underway in Rangoon.

About 20 exiled Burmese are protesting, many of them wearing red headbands
and carrying signs denouncing Burma's military junta.

They're singing and chanting the name of Burma's opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi.

A spokesman for the demonstrators says more than 300 students have been
arrested recently in Rangoon and all schools have been closed in an attempt
by the junta to quell anti-government protests.

A statement issued (Monday) by the All Burma Students Democratic Front, one
of several dissident groups taking part in the demonstration, calls on the
international community to put pressure on the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council.

The students are urging foreign companies to refrain from investing in Burma
as long as the junta is in power.

They're also calling on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to delay
Burma's entry into the regional grouping until human rights are respected
and a dialogue is initiated between the military and the democratic opposition.


December 10, 1996 (The New Light of Myanmar-SLORC press)

Secretary- 2 of the State Law and Order Restoration Council [SLORC]
Lieutenant General Tin U, accompanied by member of Security and Management
Committee of the State Law and Order Restoration Council Lt. Gen. Aye
Thaung, Minister for Religious Affairs Lt. Gen. Myo Nyunt, Minister for
Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Maj. Gen. Soe Myint, Minister at the
office of the Prime Minister Col. Pe Thein and officials, left here for
Pagan-Nyaung-u by Tatmadaw [Defense Services] aircraft on 10 December.

The Secretary-2 met with the Chairmen of Pagan-Nyaung-u District and
Township Law and Order Restoration Councils, departmental officials, service
personnel and members of USDA [Union Solidarity and Development Association]
and explained political situations and tasks for regional peace
and tranquillity to them.  The Secretary-2 and party flew to Pakokku by
helicopter. [passage omitted] The Secretary-2 met chairmen of Pakokku
District and Township Law and Order Restoration Councils and members,
service personnel and USDA members. He spoke of various destructive acts of
internal ex-handles relying on external elements and their bids to mar
endeavours for all round development, rearing of disciples by some big
nations for their manipulation; on implementing 12 objectives as work
guidance upholding Our Three Main National Causes and opposing destructive
acts in accord with
People's Desire. 

The Secretary-2 stressed that the SLORC will not accept such disturbances as
in 1988 to break out again. He said the government will continue to
implement national development activities and to restore stability,
community peace and
tranquillity and prevalence of law and order. He also spoke of the need for
service personnel who enjoy rations and salaries to be loyal to the State. The
Secretary-2 called for the people's cooperation with the State and the
Tatmadaw. Ministers Lt. Gen. Myo Nyunt, Maj. Gen. Soe Myint and U Soe Tha
also spoke. 
The Secretary-2 and party went to Pakokku College and met Principal Dr. Mya
U and faculty members. He fulfilled the requirements. [sentence as received] 
The Secretary-2 spoke of situations from home and abroad. Minister U Soe Tha
made arrangements for installation of telephones and donated five computers. 
The Secretary-2 and ministers paid obeisance to Thihoshin Myatswa Pagoda in
Pakokku and signed guests' book and donated cash for the pagoda. 


December 12, 1996

Wilma Chan, Supervisor, Third District

Oakland, CA -- The Alameda County Board of Supervisors today unanimously
passed an ordinance barring the county from buying goods and services or
investing in companies that do business in the South-East Asian country of

Supervisor Wilma Chan, the sponsor of the ordinance, says, "human rights
abuses in Burma are rampant and we feel Alameda County joining the many
other government bodies passing similar ordinances will help apply pressure
to the illegal military regime. It helped with South Africa and it can help
in Burma."

Burma is ruled by a group of generals who call themselves the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC). SLORC came to power in 1988 by brutally
crushing a democracy movement led by nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. SLORC
denies its citizens basic freedoms and has been charged by human rights
groups with torture and execution of its political opponents, and with
widespread use of forced labor.

The military dictatorship of Burma has been condemned by the United Nations,
the United States Congress and Department of State, the European Parliament,
Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch for human rights and
environmental abuses.

Many American citizens are also deeply concerned about the huge quantities
of heroin pouring out of Burma and onto American streets. According to the
U.S. State Department, 60% of the heroin in our streets comes from Burma.

The democratically elected leader of Burma, Mrs. Suu Kyi, has specifically
asked foreign companies not to invest in Burma, saying that foreign
investment "only serves to prolong the agony of my country, by encouraging
the present military regime to persist in its intransigence."

Other governmental bodies passing similar ordinances include San Francisco,
Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Monica, and the state of Massachusetts. Alameda
County is the first county in the nation to pass a law of this type. Among
the companies still doing business in Burma are Pepsi-Cola, Mitsubishi,
Texaco, and Unocal. Many others such as Hewlett Packard and Motorola have
ceased operations in Burma as a result of international pressure.


December 13,1996

Mining investor Robert Friedland, best known for the huge nickel find a
Voisey's Bay, Canada, has made Burma the centrepiece of an ambitious plan to
expand into Asia.

Friedland's firm Indochina Goldfields is developing a major copper-mining
project near Monywa, in central Burma, in equal partnership with Mining
Enterprise No 1, owned by the Burmese military govenrment, the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (Slorc).

Construction of a mine is expected to begin in the second quarter of 1997,
and the first copper will be produced about a year later. Indochina
Goldfields officials estimate that the Monywa mine project could eventually
produce 125,000 tonnes of copper per year.

"The  copper is of great interest to the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese," the
46-year-old Friedland said in an interview last May.

"Anybody in the mining business knows the end market is the Orient," added
Friedland, who controls a 30-per cent share of Indochina Goldfields through
his family-owned holding company, Ivanhoe Capital Corporation. "Our big idea
is, if the consumption is in Asia and the demand is in Asia, why not engage
in mineral exploration and development where the market is?"

In addition to owning the exploration rights to 840,000 hectares in Burma,
Indochina Goldfields - major shares of which are also owned by
Vancouver-based Teck Mining and Japan's Sumitomo metals - owns, or has
applied for, the rights to more than three million hectares in Indonesia,
600,000 in Vietnam, and 3,000 in South Korea.

The company's move into Burma comes during a growing international activist
campaign to isolate the Slorc, which is widely criticised for human rights
violations and illegally holding onto power, despite losing 1990 elections
to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The French oil firm Total and its partner, the US-based Unocal Corporation,
have come under heavy criticism for their pipeline project in the Yadana
region, which represents by far the largest foreign investment in Burma. Two
lawsuits field in the United States allege a variety of human rights abuses
stemming from the project.

While the two petroleum firms deny that they should be held responsible for
the behaviour of the host country, a number of companies have ceased
operating in Burma in response to consumer pressure. These include Petro
Canada, Levi Strauss, Eddie Bauer, Liz Claiborne, and Heineken.

Like Total and Unocal officials, Indochina Goldfields management argues that
the company's presence has benefitted the Burmese people.

Although Friedland was not available to comment, a written statement
prepared by his Vancouver public relations representative, Ray Torresan,
said. "Indochina Goldfields management and employees feel that their
presence in the country is highly beneficial to all concerned."

"Nobody has ever accused the mining company which is Indochina Goldfields
partner of any human rights violations, and Indochina Goldfields has a
strong policy in support of human rights," Torresan stressed.

As evidence of the benefits of Indochina Goldfields' presence, Torresan
cited its commitment to financing educational and medical charities from the
profits from the Monywa project, and the contributions it already has made
to repairing earthquake-damaged Buddhist monuments in the historic city of

Investors seem to agree that the benefits outweigh the cost of human rights
concerns and an uncertain political environment. Before its initial offering
on the Toronto Stock Exchange last June, Indochina Goldfields raised US$200
million (Bt5 billion) from institutional investors, even though analysts
said its stock was overvalued.

Friedland's move into Burma was facilitated by Vancouver businessman Reggie
Tun Maung, the senior vice president of Ivanhoe Myanmar Holdings, wholly
owned subsidiary of Indochina Goldfields.

Tun Maung, who for more than 30 years has been a business consultant for
foreign firms wanting to do business in Burma, has close personal
connections to the Slorc. His son is married to the daughter of Slorc deputy
prime minister Vice Admiral Maung Maung Khin. Tun Maung is also the
president of a Vancouver Buddhist Society, to which Friedland has donated
about $75,000.

To do business in Asia "you not only have to have now-how, you have to have
know-who," said Friedland, a dual US and Canadian citizen, who in 1994
relocated his primary place of business from Vancouver to Singapore, while
he, his wife, and their three children moved to Sydney, Australia.

Friedland has applied this business principle throughout Asia. In China, his
Shanghai Land Corporation has a deal to produce low-cost, prefabricated
housing with the China Fund for the Handicapped, which is directed by Deng
Phufang, the son of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.

Among the partners the Friedland firm First Dynasty Mines Ltd., has enlisted
for a number of energy and mining ventures is Bambang Trihatmodjo, the son
of Indonesia President Suharto. His move into Burma is just the latest in a
career marked by controversy.

In 1990, Friedland quit abruptly as chief executive officer of Galactic
resources after the US Environmental Protection Agency announced it would
investigate Galactic's mining operations in Summitville, Colorado, for
polluting nearby streams with cyanide-laced waste.

To date, the cost of cleaning up the Summitville mine has totalled more than
$150 million. While no charges have been field against Friedland, other
Galactic officers face numerous charges.

US officials sought to recoup  the cleanup cost by asking Canadian courts to
freeze $152 million of the nearby $450 million Friedland was paid for his
13-per cent share of Diamond Fields, which made what is believed to be the
world's largest nickel find in 30 years at Voisey's Bay. Diamond Fields was
sold to Canadian nickel giant Inco for $3.18 billion in July.

Canadian courts initially agreed with the US request, but the decision was
overturned last month by a higher Canadian court. The ruling released
Friedland's assets, giving him both the capital and the freedom to pursue
his ventures in Asia. International Press Service 


December 10, 1996

-- China's Yunnan Machinery and Equipment Import and Export
Corporation (YMEC) and state-run Myanma Timber Enterprise
(MTE) signed here today a build, operate and transfer
contract for the establishment of a wood-processing factory
in Myanmar. 
According to the contract, the YMEC will build a wood-
processing factory in Myanmar [Burma] with an investment of
15 million US dollars under a 25-year BOT contract. 
Using local wood materials, the factory will produce
various wood-based products, of which 90 percent will be
Myanmar Minister for Forestry Chit Swe and Chinese
ambassador to Myanmar Chen Baoliu attended the signing
ceremony at Rangoon International Business Center. 


December 16, 1996

What Arrestees say:

"If anybody is guilty of conspiracy, it is UNOCAL who is guilty of
conspiring to deprive the people of Burma their basic human rights
and democratic process."
-Celia Alario, from Century Jail

"It is our responsibility as US citizens to stop US corporations
like UNOCAL from investing in and directly supporting regimes that
routinely practice forced labor, torture, rape and drug dealing."
-Jeremy Pastor

UNOCAL and Burma: A Direct Action Protest in LA County

Los Angeles, California - On Thursday morning, December 12, 1996,
a group of Burmese refugees and supporters from Canada, South
Africa, England, Bulgaria, and the United States, engaged in civil
disobedience at a UNOCAL facility in Los Angeles County to protest
that company's continued financial dealings with Burma's brutal
military regime. The activists hung banners and chained themselves
to a loaded tanker truck just outside the facility. The protest
continued for several hours as activists scaled a storage tank and
nearby palm trees unfurling banners condemning UNOCAL's
partnership in crime.

UNOCAL and its partners are constructing a natural gas pipeline
which will slash through not only dense tropical forests, but
through the cultural heart of the Burmese people. The military
regime, known as the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration
Council), is a partner and is responsible for project "security."
This venture is linked to forced labor, forced village relocation,
rape and torture of Karen, Mon, and Tavoy peoples. Forced laborers
include children, pregnant women and the elderly.

On his recent tour of Asia, President Clinton publicly criticized
the SLORC's complicity in drug trafficking. Burma is reportedly
the source of 60% of the heroin sold in American cities. According
to the Paris-based Geopolitical Drug Watch, the SLORC's Myanmar
Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a 15% partner in the pipeline
venture, has laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in heroin money.

In 1988, a democracy movement gained widespread support from the
entire spectrum of Burmese society. Hundreds of thousands of
people took to the streets to demonstrate for democracy, but the
military retaliated in August 1988 by gunning down thousands of
civilians over a three day period. Feeling confident with their
military and political power, the SLORC allowed elections two
years later whereby the National League for Democracy (NLD) won
82% of the vote. The SLORC then nullified the elections, placed
democratically elected president (1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) Aung San
Suu Kyi under house arrest and tortured and imprisoned her supporters.

For the past several weeks Burmese students and workers have again
been risking their lives in demonstrations for democracy and human
rights. So far they have been met with tear gas and water cannons,
but SLORC leaders have threatened the protesters with "annihilation," and
have once again placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.

At Thursday's UNOCAL action, fourteen of the non-violent protesters were
arrested. As of Dec. 16th, some are still being held on felony conspiracy
and felony theft charges, with bail set at $50,000 each.

Concerned individuals are being asked to:

1. Boycott UNOCAL 76 gas stations.

2. Call/Fax to District Attorney Gill Garcetti and County Sheriff
Sherman Block and ask them to drop the ridiculous felony charges
against the 14 protesters.

Gill Garcetti, DA       Sherman Block, Sheriff (213)974-3501
(213)526-5000 (213)626-5862 (Fax)     (213)267-6640 (Fax)

3. E-mail President Clinton ( president@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx ) and urge
him to impose economic sanctions already approved by the US Congress.

For more info, call (310)306-0655 or freebrma@xxxxxxxxxxxxx