[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

News: September 27

Received: (from strider) by igc4.igc.apc.org (8.6.12/Revision: 1.15 ) id RAA03834; Wed, 27 Sep 1995 17:35:13 -0700
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 1995 17:35:13 -0700

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

The BurmaNet News: September 28, 1995

Noted in Passing:
So let us find a way to advance the cause of freedom in Burma 
and reduce the flow of heroin to the streets of America. - John
Kerry, US Senator, Massachusetts (quoted in US SENATE:  

Produced with the support of the Burma Information Group (B.I.G).

The BurmaNet News is an electronic newspaper covering Burma.
Articles from newspapers, magazines, newsletters, the wire
services and the Internet as well as original material are

The BurmaNet News is e-mailed directly to subscribers and is
also distributed via the soc.culture.burma and seasia-l
mailing lists and is also available via the reg.burma
conference on the APC networks. For a free subscription to
the BurmaNet News, send an e-mail message to:
In the body of the message, type "subscribe burmanet-l"
(without quotation marks) Letters to the editor, comments or
contributions of articles should be sent to the editor at:

Information about Burma is available via the WorldWideWeb at:

FreeBurmaWWW http://sunsite.unc.edu/freeburma/freeburma.html
[including back issues of the BurmaNet News as .txt files]
BurmaWeb:  http://www.uio.no/tormodl

Burma fonts: 

Ethnologue Database(Myanmar):


 gopher csf.colorado.edu.

Look under the International Political Economy section, then
select Geographic_Archive, then Asia, then Burma. 

BurmaNet regularly receives enquiries on a number of
different topics related to Burma.  The scope of the subjects
involved is simplytoo broad for any one person to cover.
BurmaNet is therefore organizing a number of volunteer
coordinators to field questions on various subjects. If you
have questions on any of the following subjects, please
direct email to the following coordinators, who will either
answer your question or try to put you in contact with
someone who can:

Arakan/Rohingya/Burma-       [volunteer needed]
Bangladesh border
Art/archaeology/:            [volunteer needed]
Campus activism:             [on summer vacation]
Boycott campaigns: [Pepsi]   
Buddhism:                    Buddhist Relief Mission, 
                             c/o NBH03114@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Chin history/culture:        plilian@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Fonts:                  		tom@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
History of Burma:            zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Kachin history/culture:      74750.1267@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Karen history/culture:       102113.2571@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                             		Karen Historical Society
Mon history/culture:         [volunteer needed]
Naga history/culture: 	Wungram Shishak,  
Burma-India border            [volunteer needed]
Pali literature:            	 "Palmleaf"
                             		c/o burmanet@xxxxxxxxxxx
Shan history/culture:        [volunteer needed]
Shareholder activism:       simon_billenness@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   
Tourism campaigns:      	bagp@xxxxxxxxxx     "Attn. S.Sutcliffe"   
World Wide Web:              FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx
Volunteering:           	christin@xxxxxxxxxx  

[Feel free to suggest more areas of coverage]

Dear BurmaNet readers,

The Congress of the United States has passed the most far-reaching 
sanctions bill ever to be aimed at the military regime in Burma.  
Unlike some of the previous efforts, the current bill is likely to do 
serious damage to the State Law and Order Council's efforts to gain 
legitimacy and attract investment.  Unfortunately, the struggle to get 
this bill passed isn't finished.

There are differences between the versions of the bill which the Senate 
and House have passed.  What happens next is that a committee made up 
of a few members of both the House and Senate will meet and come up 
with a compromise between the two versions.  That bill will then go 
back to both houses, where it is likely to pass, and then to President 
Clinton, who is likely to sign it.

It is in the current stage that is the most dangerous.  The person who 
is responsible for appointing the conferees from the House side has 
close connections with the oil industry and the Unocal Corporation in 
particular.  Rep. Livingstone recently travelled to Burma as (I 
believe) a guest of Unocal and the SLORC and has expressed his support 
for the current regime's effort to gain legitimacy. Rep. Livingstone is 
almost certain to be hostile to the intent of the bill and may have
significant influence on what emerges from the conference committee.
The most effective way to prevent the bill from being gutted is to 
speak up now.

We have now reached the most critical point of pushing sanctions in the U.S.
-- this advocacy effort which must happen in the next 24 to 48 hours will
decide whether or not the McConnell sanctions pass or fall.  Specifically,
we must persuade Congresspersons who are named to the committee to decide
the final form of the bill (and whether to keep the McConnell provision,
which was passed by the Senate but not by the House of Representatives) to
support Burma sanctions. 

Burma democracy activists from around the world should:

 1 send letters and human rights information to the Congressman to 
demonstrate the wider size of the movement for restoration of democracy 
in Burma.  

 2 This needs to be done in the next 24 to 48 hours because the meeting 
to take the decision will occur this week.  The letters should be 
polite in tone and clearly indicate that they are urging support for 
"the McConnell amendment on Burma in the House-Senate conference on the 
Foreign Operations bill".  

The letter can have the same text to each person it is sent to, but it
should be personalized using that Congressman's name and address (and not
"to whom it may concern"). This amendment contains the same language as the
same as the McConnell sanctions bill that was widely publicized.  Letter
writers should include their address and contact information at the bottom
of their letters.  

This bill is too important to the prospects for democracy in Burma 
and it is too close to passage to let it be quietly dropped in 
committee.  Whether you are an American citizen or not, please contact the 
Congresspeople below to let them know how important their decision is.

Thank you,

[Note: If your email to these Congresspeople "bounces," ignore it; your 
message almost certainly got delivered despite the "bounce" messages.  The 
United States may be one of the most technologically advanced countries on 
the planet but the e-mail system used by the Congress is, well, dodgy.]

e-mail:  MPForbes@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Congressman Michael Forbes
House Foreign Operations Subcommittee
502 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20515

e-mail:  RPackard@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Congressman Ron Packard
House Foreign Operations Subcommittee
2162 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20515

e-mail:  CWilson@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Congressman Charles Wilson
House Foreign Operations Subcommittee
2256 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20515

e-mail: sfnancy@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
House Foreign Operations Subcommittee
Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Faxes can also be sent to these other House conferees who don't have e-mail.
The address is House Foreign Operations Subcommittee, U.S. House,
Washington, D.C.  20515
Congressman Robert Livingston ---               202-225-0379
Congressman John Edward Porter --             202-225-0157  
Congressman Frank R. Wolf ---                      202-225-0437             
Congressman Jim Lightfoot ---                   202-225-6973
Congressman Sonny Callahan ---                    202-225-0562      
Congressman Joseph Knollenberg ---              202-226-2356
Congressman Jim Bunn ---                           202-225-2994     
Congressman David Obey ----                             
Congressman Sidney Yates ----                   202-225-3493
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi --                    202-225-8259       
Congressman Esteban Edward Torres --            202-225-9711


September 21, 1995  
On page 104, strike lines 7 through 10 and insert the following:  
Sec. 570. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used
for  international narcotics control assistance under chapter 8 of
part I of the  Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, or crop substitution
assistance, directly for the Government of Burma unless the
Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional
committees that any such programs are fully consistent with United
States human rights concerns in Burma and serve a vital United
States national interest. The President shall include in the annual
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report submitted under
chapter 8 of part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 a
description of the programs funded under this section.  
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I rise in support of my colleague from
Arizona's amendment to restore authority for the State Department
to use funds for counter narcotics efforts and crop substitution
programs in Burma as long as the President certifies that any such
program is fully consistent with human rights concerns and serves
vital United States interests.  
Human rights is an issue of extreme importance and deep concern to
every Senator in this Chamber, and must remain a significant
element in our dealings around the world, and no Senator is more
committed to the issue than Senator McCain.  
His amendment is a commonsense amendment that gives the United
States the necessary flexibility to act in its interest in a nation
which provides 60 percent of the heroin smuggled into this country.
To prohibit counter narcotics efforts would be ill-advised and
Whatever our deep and abiding concern for human rights, it is
important to note, Mr. President, that Burma's most noted victim of
human rights violations, Aung San Suu Kyi, supports drug control
efforts in her country, and that, Mr. President, is the best
argument for support of the McCain amendment.  
We have three important objectives in Burma --democracy,
counternarcotics, and human rights. All three demand our attention
and our support; but common sense would tell us that we cannot
diminish potential success in any of these areas because of
specific failures in another as long as we are sensitive to the
impact of our actions on overall diplomatic progress.  
Mr. President, the State Department is well aware of congressional
concerns and I fully anticipate that it will conduct
counternarcotics efforts consistent with our overall international
policy and in consultation with the Congress.  

Without a strategy that addresses the heroin trade in Burma, we
have no effective antinarcotic program at all.  
I can well understand the Senate's desire to influence the Burmese
regime's treatment of the Burmese people. That treatment has been
abominable and well deserves our severe reproach. I visited Burma
last March and was exposed to a pretty representative sampling of
how abominable that treatment has been and continues to be.  
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release was a very welcome development. But
in and of itself it does not represent evidence of political reform
or even an indication of progress toward an objective standard of
human rights in Burma. Burma has a very long way to go.  
I know the authors of this provision feel very strongly, as do I,
that the United States must actively support the cause of human
freedom in Burma, and make it unmistakably clear to Burma's State
Law and Order Restoration Council, the SLORC, that the United
States, indeed, all of the civilized world expect them to begin
respecting the will and the rights of the Burmese people.  
But what I have difficulty understanding is why we must refrain
from acting in our own national interest while we attempt to act in
the interest of the Burmese people. I could understand the
objective of this provision if it stated that no funds for drug
control could be made available directly to the SLORC. I would not
support this assistance either if the State Department were
proposing to simply provide money to the SLORC with the promise
that the SLORC would use it to eradicate poppy fields. It is quite
probable that such funds would be used by the SLORC to further
oppress ethnic minorities in Burma, like the Wa.  
But, Mr. President, that is not what the administration proposed to
do with this assistance. First, it is a relatively small amount of
money that we are talking about, with most of it going to the
efforts of the U.N. Drug Control Program [UNDCP] in Burma; $2
million would be provided to the U.N. to work with ethnic
minorities on crop substitution and other programs intended to
begin making some, although admittedly small, progress in reducing
poppy cultivation. None of that assistance would be funneled
through the SLORC.  
A limited--a very limited amount of assistance, $50 thousand, I  
believe--would be provided to train Burmese customs officials. But
I fail to see the harm in that, given that the amount is so small,
and the need for better Burmese control of drug smuggling at the
borders so obvious.  
Mr. President, $2 million isn't going to solve America's heroin
problem. But I do not see how we begin to get any control over that
problem absent some kind of program in Burma.  
Opium production in Burma has skyrocketed in recent years. It is,
by far, the largest heroin producing country in the world. Again,
60 percent of heroin in the United States originates in Burma.  
The enormous increase in heroin production globally has
substantially reduced the street price of heroin while
simultaneously increasing the purity, and consequently, the
lethality of the drug. Overdoses--fatal overdoses--have increased
rapidly in the United States.  
Sadly, as long as there is demand for heroin, we will never be able
to keep it out of all our children's hands. But if in Burma and
elsewhere our efforts make some progress in restricting the flow of
heroin to the United States, we will make the drug more expensive
and less readily available on our streets than it is today.  
Mr. President, before I conclude, I should also add that in
meetings attended by American Embassy officials in Rangoon, Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi, had no objections to counternarcotics programs in
Burma. While advising that the U.N. counternarcotics effort in
Burma be closely monitored--as it should be, she also understood
the importance of reducing poppy cultivation. Further, she observed
that the U.N. Burma program employs many prodemocracy supporters. 

I am convinced that the counternarcotics assistance envisioned for
Burma is consistent with our human rights goals in Burma. But, I
repeat, to ensure that it remains so, this amendment requires the
Secretary to certify that all the programs which our assistance
would support are fully consistent with our human rights concerns
in Burma.  

Mr. President, I believe--as we have in many other countries--the
United States can advance or values and protect our national
interests in Burma simultaneously. They are not mutually exclusive,
and should not be treated so.  
I commend the Senator of Kentucky and also the Senator from Vermont
for their abiding concern for the rights of the people of Burma. I
understand the motive--the very decent motive--for authoring the
provision I seek to amend. My only concern is over this particular
approach to achieving a very worthy objective. So let us find a way
to advance the cause of freedom in Burma and reduce the flow of
heroin to the streets of America.  

September 27, 1995      by the BurmaNet Editor

SLORC Raids Lead to Suicide: 

	At the KNU Congress at the end of last month, the Second Brigade 
Commander reported that at least 20-30 people in the Second and Third 
Brigade areas have committed suicide because of raids by the SLORC army.  
The troops have been destroying households' rice granaries, so that they will 
have no food to give to KNLA soldiers passing through.  As a result, the 
villagers themselves are left without any food.  They cannot make their way 
out to the refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border, because the SLORC troops 
now control all the transportation routes.  If they were to walk, it would take 
at least a month, but they cannot carry enough food for the journey, and there is no 
guarantee they would make it safely.  With their only other choice being to move
to towns and cities deeper in Burma to look for work, some families have decided they 
would rather die.  In most cases, the father of the family kills his wife and children
before killing himself, either with a gun or by strangulation.  
	Some internally displaced Karen villagers have gone to KNU leaders for
help.  During the month of August, the Second Brigade Commander providing
1500 refugees with rice and salt.  The refugees have built small huts at the Brigade
Headquarters or are staying with friends and relatives.  However, the commander
said that he could only take care of them until the end of September.

Many DKBA Have Returned:

	According to one KNU representative, a DKBA defector reported that
he had joined the DKBA, because he had heard that the KNU had killed 30 
Buddhist monks and put them in caskets.  Although this was not true, he believed
it at the time.  He and at least 50 other DKBA soldiers, some with weapons and
even mortars,  have returned to the KNU recently.  The defectors were angry with 
the SLORC, because the SLORC took their arms away from them, did not give 
them any ammunition, and stopped giving them rations.  Far worse, the SLORC 
troops raped the wives and female relatives of DKBA soldiers while the DKBA 
soldiers were out on patrols.  The DKBA defectors said they realized they were 
just killing their own people and their own relatives by working with  the SLORC.  
Now many say that their consciences are not clear.
	General Bo Mya has made a big effort to woo the DKBA back by sending
out letters, putting announcements on the radio, and asking people in Kawthoolei 
to spread the word that the DKBA soldiers will not be punished if they return to
the KNU.  According to those who have come back already, many more would like
to return, but they are afraid of what the KNU might do to them.  They are waiting
to see what will happen to those who have come back.  Many more DKBA soldiers 
have deserted and either returned to their villages or are internally displaced in Burma.
Others cannot escape their units, because they are under surveillance by SLORC troops
or they are too far from the border.  
	The SLORC has also killed several DKBA soldiers in the border area (see 
KHRG Report #95-23, July 10, 1995), presumably because they have outlived their 
usefulness.  The DKBA have not been able to infiltrate the southern areas of 
Kawthoolei, nor has the SLORC been able to promote the DKBO as the official 
representatives of the Karen.  Nevertheless, the DKBA proved to be extremely 
useful in bringing about the swift fall of Manerplaw,  a decisive blow to the KNU
and pro-democracy groups who were working there.

Massive Winter Offensive Against the Karen:

	The SLORC is planning to launch a large offensive against both the KNU 
and the Shan once the rainy season ends in November.  The SLORC has already 
cut supply lines between the northern and southern parts of Kawthoolei and controls 
most of the transportation routes.  At the same time, the Thai government has made
it much more difficult for the KNU to transport supplies through Thailand.  Many more
refugees are expected.


September 27, 1995       by Don Pathan, Marisa Chimprabha

THAI-US relations are facing new difficulties as a United States
joint House and Senate committee finalizes the 1996 foreign aid
bill which proposes sanctions against Bangkok if it failed to
provide humanitarian assistance to Burmese exiles and refugees.

An amendment containing a section calling for the sanctions
was added to the Senate's 1996 Foreign Operations Appropriations
Bill by the chairman of the Foreign Operations Sub-committee,
Senator Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky), late last week.

McConnell's amendment was countered by Sen William Cohen
(Republican Maine), who proposed an additional amendment which
acknowledged and raised Thailand's policy towards Burma and

Cohen's amendment stated that the US government acknowledged that
Thailand as a policy in place not to support or cooperate with
the Khmer Rouge and it called on President Bill Clinton to affirm
the US government's full support of that policy.

It also stated that Thailand had given refuge to large numbers of
displaced persons from neighbouring countries, placing a great
burden on the Thai economy.

Cohen's amendment encouraged the  Thai government to prevent
cooperation between individual members of the Thai military and
the Khmer Rouge.

Although Cohen's amendment did not call for the removal of
McConnell's amendment, which has the potential of straining
Thai-US diplomatic ties while the drug controversy involving top
Thai politicians is yet to be settled it is a means of countering
McConnell's position on Thailand.

Both the Senate and the House have passed their respective
versions of the bill, which must now be sent to the joint
committee for final adjustments.

The Senate approved its version of the bill late last week by an
overwhelming 91-9 vote.  A final version of the bill will be sent 
to President Bill Clinton for signing before becoming law.

While the bill passed by the Senate contained both the McConnell
and Cohen amendments, it is very likely that McConnell - as a
member of the joint committee charged with screening the bill -
will remove the Cohen amendment.

Cohen noted that last year's foreign operations appropriations
bill; which placed conditions on the continuance of the
International Military Education Training Programme (Imet),
strained the Thai-US relations.

Last year's bill required the US secretary of stab to submit a
report to Congress on the Thai military's support of the Khmer
Rouge and Bangkok's failure to support Burmese pro-democracy

The bill drew strong criticism from Thai lawmakers, especially
members of the House budget committee, which threatened to cut
the Defence Ministry's budget support for the Joint US Military
Advisory Group (Jusmag).

Cohen argued that the US should not jeopardize its overall
military ties with Thailand despite the fact that some Thai
military personnel may be dealing with the Khmer Rouge.

He also said the requirement for the secretary of state to submit
a report to Congress on Thailand's efforts to deny support to
Burmese exiles and refugees completely ignored the heavy burden
the country had borne in providing assistance tn Southeast Asian


September 27, 1995                 Chiang Rai

THE United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP)
has joined Thailand and Burma in a regional drug and AIDS
eradication programme, according to Chiang Rai Governor Khamron

Border districts of the two countries _ Mae Sai District in
Chiang Rai and Tachilek of Burma's Kengtung _ are the target
areas of the project which is to begin in the 1996 fiscal year.

Mr Khamron yesterday disclosed that anti-narcotics
representatives of the three parties met on Monday in Bangkok and
agreed to take part in the drug and AIDS supression campaign.

Use of the drug has rapidly increased in the region and it poses
a major problem in all social institutes, he said.  Young students in
various educational institutes have become victims of illegal narcotics.

In Chiang Rai, drugs are found along the common borders with
Burma and Laos, noted Mr Khamron.
In view of this problem the UNDCP has offered help to affected
countries to control the use of drugs.

Initially, the UNDCP had funded a joint project among Thailand,
Burma and Laos since in a regional anti-drug campaign.

Under the previous cooperation, the UNDCP was responsible for the
project's funding and providing equipment and vehicles to
countries under its programme, whereas the latter focused on the
integrated community development project such as the planting of
cash crops instead of opium, said the governor.

As for the new programme, the UNDCP Thailand and Burma have
agreed to join hands in monitoring drugs and AIDS problems in the
target areas, said Mr Khamron.

In Chiang Rai, there are about 17,000 drug addicts and over 4,000
HIV carriers.  Of the HIV-affected patients, about 1,000 people had 
already died of the disease, said Mr Khamron.


September 27, 1995                   Bang Lamung, Chon Buri

POLICE arrested 35 Burmese illegal workers during a swoop on
living quarters for labourers a housing estate yesterday.
The 21 men and 14 women were charged with illegal entry.

Acting on a tipoff, a team of Pattaya tourist police raided the
labourers' living quarters at Laem Chabang Housing Estate Project
2 in Tambon Bang Lamung, Chon Buri and arrested the workers.
One of the aliens, a 17-year-old man of Mon origin, told police
he and others sneaked into Thailand about a year ago.

They were taken from a border area in Tak's Mae Sot District by a
Thai agent who had promised to get them work as construction
labourers in Bangkok and nearby provinces, he said. Each alien 
had to pay 2,000 baht as brokerage fee to the Thai man.

Typed by the Research Department of the ABSDF {MTZ}    27.9.95

September 26, 1995

Japanese banks have moved to accelerate expansion in
Burma since it resumed economic ties with other nations
following the release of dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi
in July, banking sources said Monday.

The bank of Tokyo opened a representative office in
August, becoming the first Japanese commercial bank to
establish an office in Burma.

Fuji Bank said it plans to set up a representative office int he
country this year, saying its application was approved by the
Burmese government in September.


Dear Friends,

In the cause of Burmese democracy, Burmese Relief Center -- Japan 
would like to announce some new items now
available for consciousness- and fund - raising.  

We have just finished reprinting, in standard postcard size,
two cartoons by Saw Ngo (Green November 32).  One card
(red on black and white) demands, "Stop the Pipeline" while
the other (from the original watercolor, but still effective in
black and white) lampoons SLORC's "Visit Myanmar Year,"
and urges a boycott.  These cards may be ordered from
BRC--J.  Set of ten cards (5 of each design) is only $8.

To support various health programs of Mae Tao Clinic, BRC
-- J has also produced four notecards done by a talented
Burmese artist and friend of the Clinic.  Each has a superb
line drawing of a scene associated with Mae Tao Clinic and
an informative explanation on the back, but no message
inside.  A card with its envelope weighs less than 10 grams.
Available in sets of eight cards (four to send, four to keep)
with envelopes, each set is priced at $15.

While on the border this year, we also commissioned what
we understand to be the first gemstone pictures with
Burmese themes, Shwedagon, Ananda, Kyaik Tiyo, a
Buddha, Mandalay Palace, and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. 
Each picture is made with dust, sand, and chips of various
gemstones, to produce a subtle, elegant work of art in full
color.  Each picture (approx 14 cm or 5 1/2 inches in
diameter) with a teak frame and a matching stand sells for
$40. As soon as the current supply runs out (which should be
very soon), we will be ordering more from the factory, which
also supports many Burmese refugees. 

All prices include airmail postage and, in the case of the
gemstone pictures, protective packing.

Contact us if you are interested in any of these very special
items.  We can advise you as to terms of payment.

As always with BRC -- J sales, all proceeds go directly to
Burmese refugees and students on the border.

In solidarity,
                        Ken and Visakha Kawasaki