[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
BurmaNet News: June 12, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: June 12, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 02:11:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
June 12, 2001 Issue # 1823
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*Reuters: Suu Kyi brother changes demand in Myanmar suit
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Shan militia leader grabbed and beaten
*Xinhua: Myanmar's Trade with Five Western Countries Rises Sharply
*The Nation: Rangoon on warpath, top general warns
*Bangkok Post: Burmese spies are everywhere
*Bangkok Post: Agents under arrest
*Bangkok Post: Villages strengthen Burmese positions
*Mizzima: Burmese army kidnaps two Indians on Mizoram border
*DVB: Officials seize Thai-bound stimulant tablets
*The Nation: 'Relations face lasting damage'
*Bangkok Post: Talks must end mistrust, says Chavalit; Frankness
necessary to resolve suspicions
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Academics worry out relations
*The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): All with correct attitude know we are
*The Times (London): Book Review-- Living Silence by Christina Fink
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
Reuters: Suu Kyi brother changes demand in Myanmar suit
YANGON, June 11 (Reuters) - The brother of Myanmar opposition leader
Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday changed his demand in a legal case against
his sister to ask only for an ``appropriate share'' of the house she
occupies in Yangon.
Aung San Oo, an estranged elder brother living in the United States and
holding a U.S. passport, had previously asked in early April for half
the property and the right to administer it.
Real estate agents say the house, in which the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize
winner has been held under house arrest for the past nine months, is
worth about $2 million.
U Han Toe, lawyer for Aung San Oo, submitted the amended claim to the
court and presiding judge U So Thein said he would decide whether to
accept it on June 25.
``We have changed our demand from half of the property to an
'appropriate share of the property' in the amendment,'' U Han Toe told
Reuters outside the court.
The residence and compound were left by Daw Khin Kyi, widow of Myanmar
independence hero General Aung San and mother of Aung San Oo and Aung
San Suu Kyi.
Aung San was assassinated in 1947 when the country was on the threshold
of independence from Britain.
The court dismissed a previous suit by Aung San Oo in January on the
grounds he had filed the case on the wrong form.
The dismissal of the suit in January was widely interpreted as a sign
Myanmar's military government was easing its crackdown on Suu Kyi and
her National League for Democracy (NLD).
The NLD won Myanmar's last democratic elections in 1990 by a landslide
but has never been allowed to govern.
The government now insists the suit is a family affair and says it will
U Kyi Win, Suu Kyi's attorney, said the defendant would not object to
the amendment ``so long as the amendment does not change the very nature
of the suit.''
Shan Herald Agency for News: Shan militia leader grabbed and beaten
June 10, 2001
His face unrecognizable, say sources
A Shan militia leader across Chiangmai had been arrested, imprisoned and
beaten until his face became unidentifiable, said sources who came from
eastern Shan State.
Sai Nyein, 35, militia leader of Nakawngmu, roughly halfway between BP-1
(Border Pass-1) and Mongton, together with his deputy, Kyaw Ong, 42,
were arrested on 28 May on charges of collaboration with the Shan State
Army of Yawdserk and taken to Mongton where he was tortured and beaten
in order to extract a confession, they said.
"His relatives were allowed to pay a visit last week and he couldn't be
recognized," said one sources. "The Burmese (military) accused him of
leaking information to the SSA during the Battle of Pakhee (22 April-3
May) resulting in the loss of men and material."
Military authorities also arrested Htun Nay, 38, administrator of Maeken
further north, Nandaw, 35, and Awriya, 30, on the same charges.
"The militia, 50 men strong, was also disarmed yesterday," added the
source this morning.
Local people were surprised. "Sai Nyein is only half Shan. His father
was a Burmese who had served with the Army. Being so, we doubt the SSA
trusts him at all," said another source.
Xinhua: Myanmar's Trade with Five Western Countries Rises Sharply
YANGON, June 11 (Xinhuanet) -- Bilateral trade between Myanmar and five
western industrialized countries -- the United States, Japan, the United
Kingdom, Germany and France -- totaled 142.3 million U. S. dollars in
the first two months of this year, up 123.8 percent from the same
period of 2000, according to the latest government- issued Economic
Of the total, Myanmar's import from the five countries amounted to 63.96
million dollars, while its export to them was valued at 78.34 million
dollars, enjoying a trade surplus of 14.38 million dollars.
The bilateral trade between Myanmar and the five western industrialized
countries during the two-month period accounted for 18.5 percent of
Myanmar's total foreign trade which was registered at 769.15 million
Of them, Myanmar's bilateral trade with the U.S. represented the
highest volume with 66.26 million dollars or 8.6 percent of Myanmar's
total foreign trade, followed by that with Japan 58 million dollars or
7.54 percent, with U.K. 10.26 million dollars or 1.3 percent, with
Germany 4.75 million dollars or 0.61 percent.
During the period, though there was import from France with 3. 03
million dollars, the export to that country was nil.
The U.S. stood as Myanmar's fourth largest trading partner after
Thailand, Singapore and China and was followed by Japan and Republic of
Korea during the two-month period.
According to official statistics, in 2000, Myanmar's total foreign
trade, including the border trade, totaled 4.086 billion dollars, of
which its bilateral trade with the five western countries amounted to
614.2 million dollars, accounting for 15.03 percent of Myanmar's total
foreign trade during the year.
The Nation: Rangoon on warpath, top general warns
[BurmaNet adds: The Nation incorrectly identifies Charnchai Sun-thornket
as a general. He is a colonel.]
June 11, 2001, Monday
CHIANG MAI - When General Charnchai Sun-thornket, deputy chief of staff
of the 3rd Army Region, spoke, it was as if nobody else at the academic
seminar on Thai-Burmese relations had said a word.
"The [Burmese] army build-up is approaching 500,000 [men]. Two-thirds of
Burma's forces are posted on the Thai border. Two per cent of Burma's
GDP is spent on building up the military," Charnchai warned. His
comments were in sharp contrast to the views expressed by academics and
businessmen at the seminar, who said the problems were solvable and
perceptions played a large part in the deteriorating relationship
between Thailand and Burma.
"Burma's economy went downhill along with ours. Where does the money
come from?" Charnchai asked.Charnchai argued that the Burmese government
was often insincere, which meant that dialogue did not help.
"Local problems, no matter how good the relationship among the people
is, cannot be solved if the solution is not initiated from the top," he
said.Interestingly, relations on the local level are surprisingly good.
Represen-tatives of the Tak and Chiang Rai chambers of commerce gave
examples of how people from the two countries regularly crossed borders
and did business with each other.
"Locals don't care about nationalism. It's all started by those in the
capital. All we care about is when business can resume as usual," said
Sermchai Kittirattanapaiboon, president of the Chiang Rai Chamber of
Commerce. He said the amount of money changing hands in the area had
dropped from Bt50 million to Bt4 million since the border was closed
four months ago.
Charnchai replied that "militarism can't be wrong if it is a means to
making Thais patriotic."
He then went into a long narration of how drugs were causing problems in
Thailand and said that there had been no effort to solve the problem at
"Lower level soldiers will harass us and cause problems to keep their
power and maintain their interests at the border," he said. The Burmese
town of Mong Yawn, the general said, was developing fast, and military
sources said drugs were being produced there. "Of course, they won't let
you see it. Nobody's that stupid," he added.
Other speakers at the session focused on the reasons the relationship
had deteriorated so sharply during the last four months. It was pointed
out that border clashes, nationalistic movies and the media had
contributed to the problem.
Scores of examples were cited. Movies such as "Bangrajan", or television
series such as Adeeta consistently portrayed the Burmese as the enemy.
"A traffic radio station lobbied for F16s to bomb Burma for two whole
days before they were stopped," said Surachat Bamrungsuk of
Chulalongkorn. A newspaper column suggesting money be raised to "kill
the Burmese" was also mentioned.
Bangkok Post: Burmese spies are everywhere
June 10, 2001
SPYING MISSION: Over 1,000 Burmese Military Intelligence Service agents
have infiltrated Thai border towns, spying on and sometimes
assassinating anti-Rangoon elements, reporting on Thai military
movements and, inevitably, supplementing their meagre incomes with drug
One evening last November, a middle-aged man in the robes of a Buddhist
monk arrived at the Maneeloy temple in Ban Takolang in Ratchaburi's Suan
Phueng district. He wanted to talk with Phra Ko Maung Maung, an old
Burmese monk residing in the temple.
Later, witnesses told police the man spoke Burmese through an
"Judging from his rough manners and his discomfort with the robe he
wore, we suspected he was not a real monk," a witness said.
The witnesses said they took the visitor to Phra Ko Maung Maung, and
The next morning, a temple boy found the body of Phra Ko Maung Maung
soaked with blood, his hands tied up with rope. The monk's throat had
been slashed twice and his chest and body had three stab wounds.
No valuable items were missing. A handwritten notebook of the deceased
remained in place. The visitor had disappeared.
Police investigators later told the press that the notebook contained
the names of anti-Rangoon activists written in Phra Ko Maung Maung's
handwriting. Each of the names was followed by numbers, also in the old
monk's penmanship. Police said the jottings corresponded with dates and
amounts paid to the activists.
"We're sure the visitor was the killer," a Ratchaburi police
investigator said, adding that the murderer might have been unaware of
the existence of the notebook.
The police believe the killer worked for Burma's Military Intelligence
Service (MIS). They cited reports about MIS agents killing those against
the military junta within Thai territory.
National security service police say that they have reports that confirm
Phra Ko Maung Maung's role as a key coordinator for anti-Rangoon
activists who are active in the western border areas.
An inside police source said Phra Ko Maung Maung acted as a "treasurer
of donated money" which the anti-Rangoon movement collects from Burmese
communities, largely Burmese dissidents camped at Ratchaburi's Maneeloy
It is an open secret that many Burmese illegal immigrants and refugees
at the camp contribute to a Burmese Fund to finance secret operations
against the Burmese military junta.
The murder of Phra Ko Maung Maung indicates that violence continues
between Burma's MIS and those working against the military junta.
Aside from the armed anti-Rangoon fighters, there are unarmed elements
on Thai soil who spread propaganda against the Burmese military regime.
It is only natural for the Burmese government to have agents monitoring
anti-Rangoon movements, potential supporters as well as the Thai army at
Like the anti-Rangoon movement, the junta's spies mix with the Burmese
dissidents as illegal immigrants, refugees or traders at the border or
in towns and cities, say Thai intelligence sources.
"Our country is flooded with MIS agents," said Special Branch Police
Commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Yothin Mattayomnan.
"Some of them sneak into the country as illegal immigrants or as job
seekers or enter legally as businessmen. But their main objective is the
same: spy work." But Burmese agents are just a small part of the foreign
spy community in Thailand. The activities of these foreign spies
generally do not pose a serious threat to the country's national
security. However, Thai authorities are concerned about the scope of
activity of Burmese agents.
Thai security officials say they have evidence that a number of Burmese
secret agents were involved in illegal businesses, including drug
Burmese agents operating in Thailand belong to the MIS's Unit 5 and Unit
19, also known as MIS-5 and MIS-19, according to a military intelligence
source. "There are perhaps 1,000 or more, mostly spying along the
western border," said the source.
A ranking official at a national security agency said MIS agents operate
along Thailand's western border from Mae Hong Son down to Chiang Rai,
Chiang Mai, Tak, Chumphon and Ranong, with Chiang Mai as their main
MIS HELP FOR DRUG TRADE
The presence of Burmese secret agents has been observed by Thai
authorities since 1996. That year, the Red Wa, a faction of the
now-defunct Communist Party of Burma, seriously stepped up drug
trafficking. The Red Wa is with the United Wa State Army (UWSA), which
controls most of the drug industry in the Golden Triangle area. Huge
government projects in Burma
Bangkok Post: Agents under arrest
June 10, 2001
On 14 March 2000, army special task force units and the Ranong police
raided several houses in Muang district, resulting in the capture and
arrest of four suspected Burmese Military Intelligence Service agents.
Bara Khan alias Myint Oo, 45, Fah Yus alias Myo Thaung , 45, Abdul Karib
(or Kafa), 38, and Capt Kyaw Tha, 36, were charged with illegal entry
into Thailand, illegal possession of a radio transmitter, illegal
possession of firearms and war weapons, and smuggling and trafficking of
illicit substances. If found guilty, the drug trafficking charge alone
carries a death sentence.
Meanwhile, as the trial proceeds, security officials are preparing to
file a further charge of spying and undermining national security which
also carries a death penalty.
"We often find that Burmese secret agents are involved in other illegal
activities. Even without this last charge, they would be finished," one
According to Thai security officials, the four suspects had been
gathering information and taking photographs of important government
offices and military bases and making maps of border police and Thai
security force positions to send to Rangoon.
BARA KHAN also known as Myint Oo, is a Burmese Muslim able to read and
speak Thai fluently. His code number is 193/9. Bara Khan has been tasked
with gathering intelligence along the border, both inside and outside
Thailand, from Koh Song (Burma) to Ranong, Chumphon and Prachuab Khiri
At the time of his arrest, he was carrying a Thai identification card,
a45-calibre pistol, a tiny tape-recorder and a camera.
Police records show that he used to work for a Burmese Muslim group
known as the All-Burmese Muslim Union, or ABMU - an anti-Rangoon
movement under the leadership of Capt Hussein. ABMU is active in the
rugged Burmese territory adjoining Prachuab Khiri Khan province.
Bara Khan regularly enters Thailand through border passes in Ranong.
In 1990, he and his older brother Aryu Khan deserted ABMU and
surrendered to Burma's MIS-5 (Military Intelligence Service unit 5) at
Between 1991 and 1992, the then MIS-5 chief, Capt Aung Kyaw, assigned
him to gather information on activities among anti-Rangoon minority
elements along the Thai-Burmese border at Ranong, Chumphon and Prachuab
Khiri Khan. At that time, Bara Khan and other Burmese ran various
businesses in the areas, including fisheries and logging.
In 1993, MIS-5 at Koh Song was renamed MIS-19 and assigned a new unit
commander, Capt Yai Mou. The new unit chief assigned additional
responsibilities to Bara Khan, including surveying Thai military supply
routes along the border between Prachuab Khiri Khan and Ranong.
In 1994, Maj Gen Kyaw Tun, commander of the Burmese Army's Tenasserim
(Tanaosri) Region, ordered an armed unit to suppress the minority groups
opposite Chumphon and Prachuab Khiri Khan. The minority groups working
against the Rangoon administration included KNU (Karen National Union)
Battalion 12, those stationed on the strategic Hill 491, and other Mon
independence groups stationed at Chong Chi, opposite Prachuab Khiri
Khan's Tab Sa Kae. Bara Khan served the army as a scout.
The operation succeeded and Maj Gen Kyaw Tun rewarded Bara Khan with a
piece of land and a house in the Bang Law subdistrict of Marid.
Between 1995 and 1996, Bara Khan was assigned to gather information on
anti-Rangoon minority groups active in Burmese waters. Information
supplied by Bara Khan was useful in arms suppression operations against
minorities, for which he was rewarded with two fishing boats. In 1997,
the army further rewarded Bara Khan with logs from Chong Chi camp. FAH
YUS also known as Myo Thaung is also a Burmese Muslim. He was a
sophomore student at Rangoon University when he gave up his studies to
join the anti-government movement based in Thailand. He speaks and
writes good English. In the last few years prior to his arrest, he
joined Bara Khan's network and was a coordinator for MIS-19. From the
beginning, he took on the role of sympathiser or supporter of the
Burmese government's intelligence network.
His front business was antiques trading. He has bank accounts both in
Thailand and Rangoon. At the time of his arrest, Thai police found seven
passports in his possession.
His main responsibilities were to arrange accommodation and prepare
expenses and passports for MIS-19 secret agents who enter Thailand
through the border in provincial parts of Ranong.
He is also a financier of intelligence operations, particularly in
Thai authorities suspect that Fah Yus is a controller of a forward
ABDUL KARIB or Kafa, was born to Hum Zha, a Muslim group leader who
worked against the Burmese central government.
About 15 years ago, the group joined forces with the KNU under Gen Bo
Mya at Mae Ta Chor Pa Lou camp opposite Tak province. For some reason,
the group broke with Gen Bo Mya in 1989. Hum Zha started a new life as
an ordinary citizen and opened a coffee shop in Ranong. After a while,
he left for England.
His son Kafa surrendered to MIS-19 and was assigned as an information
gathering coordinator with Bara Khan. He was active within the Maneeloy
refugee camp in Ratchaburi.
Records show that in mid-1999, several members of his gang were arrested
by Thai police in Bangkok while they were preparing to send arms to the
Arakanese, an anti-Rangoon ethnic minority group of Indian and
Bangladeshi origin. Kafa and another gang member managed to escape the
While he worked for the MIS, Kafa's family smuggled agricultural
products, such as coffee and pulses, into Thailand.
At the time of his arrest, Kafa had a fake Thai identification card as
well as several Burmese student ID cards.
CAPT KYAW THA is a former KNU fighter under Lt Col Sonny (son of Brig
Oliver) of Battalion 11, based opposite Baan Thong Mongkhol in the Bang
Saphan district of Prachuab Khiri Khan. A key member of the faction, Man
Roberzan, earlier surrendered to MIS-5.
Capt Kyaw Tha worked closely with Lt Col Sonny and pocketed his
collection of protection fees from Thai and Burmese fishermen on Thai
and Burmese waters. He also worked with two notorious rebel leaders,
Capt Sar Mou and Myint Kyaw, who ran guns and sold war weapons.
After intensive attacks by Rangoon forces in 1998, Capt Kyaw Tha
defected from the rebel movement, surrendered and joined MIS.
He spent most of his MIS career on Thai soil. He has a permanent address
in Ranong's Muang district, where he runs a fresh food shop in the town.
Capt Kyaw Tha was reportedly involved in the collection of protection
fees from illegal Burmese immigrants in Ranong, in addition to
collecting information on politics and economics and Thai and Burmese
Police found he had assumed the Thai name of Amorn Mangkhong while
living in Thailand. He has a Thai wife in Ranong's Muang district.
Police found a radio transmitter in their home.
Bangkok Post: Villages strengthen Burmese positions
June 11, 2001
Burmese troops have established villages along the border to strengthen
their positions opposite Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
A source said about 20,000 Wa residents were moved from a town north of
Shan State to villages built for them by the Rangoon military.
The cluster of villages was believed to serve as a base from which to
mount military operations. Houses in the villages were mostly built in
the same style, indicating they were constructed by Rangoon soldiers.
Roads were also paved to the new military headquarters located near
border areas where incursions occurred in the past.
The source said the Burmese military was also building roads to areas
under its control opposite the Doi Angkang Royal Project site in Fang
Col Chavalit Sirikakit, of the special task force, said Burmese troops
were expected to launch a fresh offensive against the Shan State Army
stationed opposite Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Mizzima: Burmese army kidnaps two Indians on Mizoram border
Aizawl, June 11, 2001
The Burmese army reportedly kidnapped two Indian nationals on the
Indo-Burma border last week, sources in the police said. On June 2, the
Burmese soldiers took away two Mizo nationals and they have been since
then in the captivity of Burmese authorities. The two, one of them is a
local teacher, were from the Vaphai village of Champhai District in
Mizoram State. The village is situated near the international border.
Mr. Romawia, deputy secretary of Home Ministry in Mizoram State said
that his ministry has received the report of the incident and it is in
the process of confirmation.
"We have received the report from local police and we have sought
confirmation of the report from the District Commissioner of Police in
Champhai District", he responded to the query.
"These Myanmarese army often crosses into Indian side. Sometimes, they
take away pigs and cows, goats and so many things. Sometimes, we
reported these to the Home Ministry (in Delhi) and the Home Ministry
takes these matters up (with the Burmese authorities) through diplomatic
channel", he added.
According to Mr. Romawia, the Burmese army often crosses into Indian
territory to trace the Chin armed group, Chin National Army, who are
based along the border areas. "If CNA people crosses into Indian side,
the Burmese army pursued them into India", he said.
"Mizoram government cannot take effective measures although there are
some Assam Rifles guards. The only thing we have to do is to report to
the Indian side (Central government) who will in turn take up the matter
through the diplomatic channels".
There is so far no response from the Burmese authorities over the
DVB: Officials seize Thai-bound stimulant tablets
DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that a huge amount of
stimulant tablets from Mandalay bound for Thailand was seized near
Pa-An. Although a large amount of stimulant tablets were seized the SPDC
[State Peace and Development Council] has so far reported nothing about
the seizure. According to drug traffickers, border authorities are
involved in the drug trafficking trade. DVB correspondent Maung Tu filed
[Maung Tu] Seven million stimulant tablets transported from Mandalay by
a van was seized at Kyanigon bus station in Pa-an, Karen State on 2
June. If the van was not seized in Pa-an the drugs would have been
trafficked all the way to Mae Sot [in Thailand] via Myawadi. Although
there were frequent seizures of narcotic drugs in Pa-An, Myawadi and
Kawkareik Townships, the SPDC never reported anything and the 2 June
arrest is also not mentioned after almost a week. Furthermore, some of
the seized drugs were resold to the Thai side by MI [Military
Intelligence] Unit 25. Thai authorities claimed many small factories
producing stimulant tablets have emerged at the Myawadi border area and
they have been selling the drugs to the Mae Sot side. Moreover, Thai
authorities claimed they have proof that the drugs are being trafficked
via Mae Sot to Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Malaysia and Singapore.
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 8 Jun 01
The Nation: 'Relations face lasting damage'
June 11, 2001, Monday
Academics fear long-term effects from text painting Thais as enemy
Introducing a new Burmese history textbook slighting Thai people and
kings signified a bilateral relationship approaching crisis point, with
long lasting permanent effects if left unattended, prominent Burmese
experts warned yesterday.
The scholars said the incident was a culmination of different problems
with different sources, and a prudent and holistic approach was
They strongly opposed a rush visit by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
to Burma, which they believed would not help address the root cause of
"A visit by the Prime Minister must mean something," said Burmese expert
Sunait Chutintranon of Chulalongkorn University.
He said that as a national leader, Thaksin' s trip to Rangoon should
come only when the situation was ready, instead of going at all costs.
"We have a very limited understanding of our neighbour...What would we
do if there is another textbook after the PM's visit?" he said.
The problems with Burma were too complicated to expect leaders to sit
together and resolve everything, he said, adding that any move should
not serve merely domestic political purposes.
"Burma should be among the last countries the PM should visit or else it
would send out a message that we are weak," said Charnvit Kasetsiri,
from Thammasat University's Southeast Asian Studies department. He
questioned the motive behind the desire for an early visit and whether
it was based truly on national or individual interests.
Charnvit said publishing historical textbooks like the one concerning
Thai-Burmese ties was not unprecedented in Southeast Asia.
Education textbooks in the region always contained "a high degree of
prejudice" toward neighbours to serve a "hidden agenda" of nationalism,
"Every country needs a common enemy," he said, adding that this
indoctrination often led to chauvinism and the perception of an enemy.
"It is not about hatred but it is about looking down," Charnvit said in
reference to the controversial Burmese history textbook.
It was also possible the Burmese military junta was having problems
managing domestic affairs, as evident from various measures "which
reflected their weaknesses", and was attempting to divert attention
overseas, he noted.
Sunait expressed grave concern about the long-term effects of the
Burmese history textbook on the perception of Burmese people in the
future and relations with their Thai counterparts.
"Before, the Burmese text did not depict Thailand as chief villain. The
present incident is a crucial turning point," he noted, adding an
attempt to forge common understanding must be pursued in earnest. "The
incident also presents the country with a chance for self-reflection".
However, he said a joint committee to review history would risk raising
the matter to an international level which would entangle many actors.
"It is very worrying, the systematic shaping of the image of Thailand as
a main enemy. Indoctrinating the enemy perception at the people level
will be hard to heal," he said.
Bangkok Post: Talks must end mistrust, says Chavalit; Frankness
necessary to resolve suspicions
June 11, 2001
Thailand and Burma must urgently embark on confidence-building measures
to dispel mutual mistrust and restore understanding, Defence Minister
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said yesterday.
"The present state of mistrust and wide suspicion, each side questioning
the other's sincerity in tackling problems on the common border, must
not be left unresolved," Gen Chavalit said. "It would only further
affect our relationship."
He was confident that discussions during the visit to Rangoon by Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, scheduled for June 19-20, would help
restore mutual confidence and pave the way for lasting stability along
"If we talk openly and frankly, we can resolve our suspicions. I have no
doubt that the PM's visit will bring extraordinary success. It will be
the government's benchmark for a new era in bilateral co-operation,"
said Gen Chavalit, who will accompany the prime minister.
Burma was welcome to raise any suspicions about Thailand's sincerity.
Both sides should speak frankly, Gen Chavalit said.
The economic potential of the Greater Mekong Sub-region - northern
Thailand and Burma, southern China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, was
immense. All stood to benefit from peace and stability and co-operation
between regional governments.
"We need to build mutual trust and confidence before we can strive
together for regional prosperity. Cross-border development will benefit
us all," he said.
The minister tried to dispel the "misconception" that Thailand was
backing the anti-Rangoon rebels of the Shan State Army (SSA).
"Why would we back this minority group? It's clear to us they don't have
a chance to win against the Burmese army and set up an independent Shan
State," he said.
Gen Chavalit is known to have befriended the late Gen Saw Maung, who was
the first chairman of Burma's State Law and Order Restoration Council,
now termed the State Peace and Development Council.
"If the Burmese government has any suspicion that we may be training SSA
rebels in Fang , they're welcome to visit the camp to check it out for
themselves," he said.
One of the concrete measures envisioned by Gen Chavalit is the opening
up of border areas subject to suspicion to joint Thai-Burmese
inspection, and possibly patrols.
"If we have a suspicion about some border area, let us see it. If they
have a suspicion on any particular site, they're welcome," he said.
The minister was optimistic Rangoon would respond positively to the
Shan Herald Agency for News: Academics worry out relations
11 June 2001
Four months to the day, when Burmese troops were thrown back from
Rangoon in Chiangrai, and nine days before the prime minister's
historic visit to Rangoon, academics and social scientists began
sorting out problems between the two countries in order to formulate a
united policy over Burma.
The seminar on Thai-Burma relations: Crisis or Opportunities? that was
jointly organized by universities, Chulaongkorn and Chiangmai, at Lotus
Pang Suankaew Hotel in Chiangmai commenced at 09:25 with an opening
speech from the foreign minister, Surakiart Sathirathai who told the
audience that Bangkok wanted better relations with Rangoon. "Armed
conflict should be the last resort," he said. "I told Gen. Khin Nyunt
that it is time to stand still and wait out until the dust settles."
However, he also warned Burma yesterday that there were two things that
Thailand would never allow to be violated: Sovereignty and Lese-majeste.
"It is the armed forces' duty to preserve our sovereignty," he said.
All the same, he agreed with Burma's strongman that the Thai media
needed some self discipline. "'Since we haven't even discussed any
thing yet, how could your papers say the talks are a failure?,'" he
quoted Khin Nyunt whom he met early last month.
According to a foreign ministry official who was delegated to attend the
meeting, Bangkok did not think relations were at a critical juncture.
Instead he described the relations as "cold". We already have different
levels of mechanisms to deal with problems as they arise," he said.
With regards to the ongoing "national reconciliation process" in
Rangoon, he confirmed Thailand's support for the United Nations'
Burma a threat to Thailand?
Dr. Sunet Chutintranond, Faculty of Linguistics, Chulalongkorn
University, did not think Burma poses a threat to Thailand. "Prior to
B.E. 2329 (1786) when the Burmese forces were repulsed at the Battle of
Tha Dindaeng, they were a threat to our security," said the professor
who speaks Burmese. "But since then, Burma was occupied by the British
after a series of conflicts, and colonialism became a threat instead."
He portrayed Burma as having "a strong regime but a weak state," citing
several arguments including Burmese army-men being disarmed when they
enter Wa territory, Burma being placed among that Least Developed
Countries, the defeat by the opposition at the polls in 1990 ("The NLD
won even more seats than the Thai Rak Thai Party," he said drawing
laughter) and the low level of education.
Dr. Surachart Bamroongsuk, who writes in the Thai weekly, "Matichon",
read out 12 issues facing Thailand in relation to Burma. "They are
listed at random," he apologised.
1. Minorities along the border ("It's not their fault that they're
different from the Burmese," remarked Dr. Thanet Jaroenmuang from the
2. People with double citizenships;
3. Illegal entry and illegal labor ("It is just the reverse of water,"
he said. "It goes from the lower altitude to the higher one.");
4. Armed conflicts and consequent violations of territorial integrity
("We didn't have territorial disputes until Burmese forces replaced the
minorities," said Dr. Sunet.)
5. Transnational crimes;
6. Cross-border illegal activities, especially weapons and drugs;
7. Cross-border trade;
8. Boundary ("We have a 2,401 km border with Burma; only 50 km have been
demarcated," said the Foreign Minister);
9. "Scrambles" for natural resources;
10. Contagious diseases;
11. Security; and
He suggested confidence building measures (CPM), regular meetings of the
border committees, a united policy and a Burma studies program. "Our
students know the first President of the United States, but not of
Vietnam", he said. "Not even the name of Thailand's first prime
minister," he quipped.
Col. Charnchai Sunthorngket, Deputy Chief-of-staff, Third Army,
questioned the practicability of the existing border committees.
"We know problems must be solved at the table," he said. "But what can
we do when they refuse to come to the table? ... What can we do when
they say they still have to wait for orders from Rangoon?"
"Everyone knows the state of economy Burma is in. Yet they are
continuing their build-up of the armed forces that makes one wonder
where the money comes form... Also, with such an army, they could
already have subdued all the minorities, but why have they been moving
against us instead?," he asked.
"It is their violation of the Panglong Agreement that has brought all
these problems to us in the first place," he concluded.
Panglong, 1947, signed by Burma proper, Shan, Chin and Kachin,
subscribed to the principles of Full Autonomy, Democracy and Human
Rights for the non-Burman states.
Sermchai Kittirattana Phaiboon, President of the Chiangrai Chamber of
Commerce, however, voiced the concern of the business sector. "It is all
right about national security and drugs, but trade is also as
important," he said.
Panithi Tangphati, President of the Tak Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
"Wherever Thai goods are, it is as good as raising the Thai national
flag there," he said.
The one-day seminar, most of its eight hours loaded with the speeded-up
presentations by the 8 invited speakers, concluded at 17:15 without a
The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): All with correct attitude know we are
Sunday, 10 June, 2001
This week, I would like to talk with Myanmar youth. In my previous
article "If you are a liar you can't put the facts down", I was just
pointing out the errors in the article carried by a Siamese (Thai)
daily, "daily News". Although, they filed serious complaints, saying
that my article had insulted their King Mongkut, they never singled out
the parts of my article which were said to be insulting their King. The
signing of the agreement with Bowring in 1855 is also undeniable. I
have the book "The Kingdom and People of Siam" compiled by Bowring with
the permission and help of King Mongkut, and the book can be found at
international libraries. But I didn't refer to this book. I was worried
that if the facts compiled in the book by a colonialist are wrong, it
would be like launching false accusations against an Asian nation.
The columnist wrote his article in the Daily News in a much impolite
way. He blamed us for falling under British subjugation. I was thinking
that it has become necessary for me to tell youths "Why we have been
enslaved" and "Even though Myanmars fell under subjugation, they had up
held their Thakin to regain independence under the successive leaders".
Myanmar lies in the east of India with common borders. The British came
from the west. After the British had invaded and seized India, Myanmar
had to share the border with the British colonial territory. When a
nation became the immediate neighbour of their colonial country, the
Europeans including the British, who always upheld the colonialist
practices, invaded and colonialized it.
They (the colonialists) never came to Asia for conducting noble things
nor normal trade. They came with the objectives, which were, to find
easy prey, to spy on the prey country, to destroy its internal
strength, and then to occupy it. After seizing one country, they would
be inventing various wicked schemes to seize another.
When the historical events of the global nations are studied, it can be
found that geopolitics has much influence on the many countries.
Myanmar is next to India. The British after colonializing India, Malay
peninsular and Singapore were eyeing more on Myanmar. The coastal line
of Myanmar almost connected the Indian coast with the Malay peninsular.
What I want to tell you is that ships during that time were not the
deep-sea-going vessels, but they were ships which were designed to
travel along the coastal seas. Thus it was important for the British to
have a contiguous stretch of coastal seas.
Another British calculation was that they would be able to enter China
from the rear after occupying Myanmar. They were drawing plans to seize
China, which is an enormous nation, from the back door and unless they
could occupy it, they would create it as a big market for them.
For these many reasons, the British used bullying tactics to colonialize
Myanmar which they coveted. Thus, they invaded Myanmar for the first
time in 1824-26. The British unlawfully said that Shinmaphyu Island of
Myanmar was included in the Chittagong region under their rule. They
argued that Shinmaphyu Island was their territory and declared war on
Myanmar, giving stationing of Myanmar troops on the Island as an
In the history books compiled by the British, they said they used the
newest warships in attacking Myanmar.
If you ask me "Are you saying that they came and attacked us with new
boats as you want to take pride in it?", I will tell you that the one
who takes into account all the events relavent to each other can draw a
more distinctive and sound answer. The British used new warships as
they knew that invading Myanmar was no easy task. Don't think that
Myanmars easily yielded to the invaders. The Myanmars" history of
sacrificing life for the nation is amazing.
During the first aggressive war, the battle reached Yandabo as the
British officer never stopped the fighting despite the peace offer. As
you have not broadly studied, you might think that Myanmar offered
peace with fear only when the British troops reached near Inwa City. It
is not true. It was because of Campbell who violated the rule of
offerring peace which stated that the fighting had to be stopped during
the peace negotiations. The British attitude was that because, the rule
was required to be followed only when the engagement was between the
Europeans; and that the Asians did not deserve the rules of the
civilized Europeans. What an insult!
After the first aggressive war, Myanmar had to concede Rakhine coastal
region and Taninthayi coastal region to the British. The people from
Dawei, who were enslaved in 1826, revolted against the British in 1829
by holding whatever arms they could lay their hands on. Although it is
said that their efforts were in vain, it can be said that their revolt
showed that they did not accept the rule of the British. Mon people
from Mottama went to attack Mawlamyine. This was because some regions
on the bank of Mawlamyine had been included in Mottama Township since a
long time. As these regions were acceded to the British, they did so to
show their protest.
Thein Phaw nationals living in Hugaung Mountain Pass and its environs in
the north-west region of Myanmar had been attacking the British since
the first aggressive war broke out. Khanti Shan nationals had also
revolted against the British since the flame of war started.
Although Myanmars lost their war, their national pride and blood did not
"dry up." They did not feel discouraged or feel small. Therefore, the
mission led by Mr John Crawfurd who arrived at Inwa on 30 September
1826 had discussions with Myanmar ministers. Myanmars over and over
again turned down 22 conditions which Crawfurd planned in advance. So,
Crawfurd had to conclude an agreement with the remaining four
When there were occasions to deal with the British after the war,
Myanmars explicitly said what they were not satisfied with and
protested against it. However, if there was a mistake in concluding an
agreement, things which were not satisfactory cropped up until the
Although I don't want to say, I have to say something. In 1839, the
Siamese intruded into three towns in Shan State, part of the territory
of Myanmar, and took the people through Chiang Mai. The purpose was to
make them work as slaves. For that matter, the king of Thayawady lodged
a protest against the British government. The purpose of launching the
protest was that in the paragraph 10 of Rantapo Treaty which the king
of Sagaing had to sign as he lost war, it was stated that Siam was one
of the nations covered by the agreement since it was the Brithish ally.
At this, the king of Thayawady demanded the British to give an
explanation about the matter concerned with their allied nation. And
the British said that they included Siam in the agreement as Siam gave
assistance to the British during the war and Myanmar could not disturb
it. They said again that it was for the sake of Siam. It was not
concerned with the king of Myanmar at all. It was also said that the
British could not be held responsible for what Siam did. They replied in
this irresponsible way. If Myanmar did something to Siam, that matter
would be concerned with them.
In fact, before the British went to war against Myanmar, Barney went to
Siam as a diplomat and asked for assistance. He also said that
Taninthayi which once belonged to Siam would be given back. As I have
to give a full account, I have to say that Taninthayi, which had
belonged to Myanmar, fell into the hands of the Siamese in 1600 and
King Alaungmintaya retook Taninthayi only in 1759. However, the British
said that the Siamese had to conduct themselves well and they would be
given food. In this way, the British soothed the Siamese in order to
ensure that the latter did not attack the former from the back. Siam
also behaved itself very well. Siam got its three battalions ready in
the region of Taninthayi and even one battalion took part in the war.
Later, they withdrew as the British thought wrongly of them.
Sons and daughters,
When King Mongkut and Sir John Bowring signed an agreement in 1855,
included in the agreement was the fact that if subjects of the British
committed any crime, they had to be heard at the British Embassy and a
decision could be passed. Anyone who signed the agreement thought that
the subjects of the British were persons who have a white skin with a
pointed nose, blue eyes and hair of corn colour. But it turned out that
as the British annexed Myanmar, the latter became the subject of the
former. As Malay was annexed by the British, it was the subject of the
British. If the people from countries seized by the British came to
Siam and commit any crime, the Siamese had to give special privileges
to them and allowed them to hear the case at the embassy.
As a matter of fact, Myanmar and Siam suffered in the same way. But we
had to live under colonial rule and we were enslaved. However, both had
to suffer. Myanmar had to suffer obviously. But, they had to suffer as
if knowingly or unknowingly. If they want to be angry, they should have
been angry with the British. It is not appropriate that they are
criticizing us severely. The articles of those who are pointing an
accusing finger at us are in plenty in Siam. However, as far as what I
have written is concerned, they felt as if cut to the quick. My sons
and daughters, you all know that it is not appropriate.
Author : Dr Ma Tin Win ( The Institute of Education)
The Times (London): Book Review-- Living Silence by Christina Fink
Wednesday May 23 2001
Burma was more industrialised than Malaysia in the 1950s; by the 1970s
all that had changed. This new book brings to life the struggles of
Burma Under Military Rule
By Christina Fink
Zed Books, £16.95; 297 pp
ISBN 1 856 49926 X
Times offer £15.95 (free p&p) 0870 160 80 80
How do vile regimes survive, decade after decade, in the modern world?
How, still more, do they survive when they have compounded their
assault on people's freedoms by impoverishing them as well? Or when
all their weapons, so freely used to crush unarmed resistance, cannot
even bring peace to the country? What do such regimes do to a people's
psychology and, conversely, what does their longevity tell us about
that psychology? "What is a life well lived under military rule?" The
Burmese, Christina Fink tells us near the start of her admirably
documented and utterly absorbing attempt to answer these questions,
"have traditionally identified the government as one of the five
enemies, the others being fire, water (floods and storms), thieves and
malevolent people". The politicians they elected at independence in
1948 did sadly little to change their minds. Their idea of democratic
politics seems to have been first to win power, then to eliminate the
opposition, with some politicians even using private armies to murder
opponents and their supporters.
So, after a dozen years of this, people were pretty relaxed when
General Ne Win staged his second and definitive coup in 1962. They
might not have been, had they known that 40 weary years on, his shadow
would loom over them still; or had they known that his Revolutionary
Council's "Burmese way to Socialism" would send Burma so steeply
downhill that many children in their fertile land would go to bed
hungry. Or above all that spies and soldiers would lodge menacingly in
every cranny of their lives, so that "doing what is right is often
directly opposed to doing what is necessary to survive".
Ne Win nationalised everything in sight, forced farmers to sell all
their rice to the government and sealed the country off from foreign
investment. Burma, rich in rice, teak and gems, was more
industrialised than Malaysia in the 1950s. Already by 1973, simple
goods were so short that I remember causing infinite embarrassment by
asking to buy an envelope in Rangoon; and my wastepaper basket was
ransacked, not by the ubiquitous military intelligence but by people
who rescued paper that I had used on only one side, ironed it and bore
it gratefully away. In 1987, Burma, once the "jewel" in Britain's
imperial crown, joined the UN's "least developed" list.
The world knows, vaguely, what happened next. In 1988 Rangoon's
students set off six weeks of nationwide protests; and on August 26,
the slight frame of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi stood forth to give the moral
and political leadership without which resistance was impossible. The
junta struck back. Thousands lost their lives. Daw Aung San was put
under house arrest. But it offered elections, permitted political
parties to form though barely to organise or campaign - and in 1990,
her National League for Democracy swept the board with 392 seats to
the ten scraped by the military's National Unity Party. It was a
famous victory; but it became even more famous when the military
flatly refused - then and ever since - to admit defeat. The first part
of this book tells the sad tale well; tells, too, the ways that Daw
Aung San and the people around her have since 1990 tried to keep hope
alive under the military boot. It details the cruel techniques of
control; and also and rightly reminds us that democrats have to contend
with Burma's many and distrustful ethnic minorities, who cannot decide
whether to put democracy or their struggles for autonomy first. It is
both dispassionate, and impassioned.
But the true originality of this anatomy of a society's agony are the
chapters that reveal, through hundreds of interviews in and around
Burma, what life is like for individual families, for communities,
schools, universities. She takes you, through the words of those
caught up in the psychological, even physical, dismemberment of their
country, into the samizdat cultural life of the tea houses; into the
monastery, the prison, and even the barracks. A world of one soldier
for every hundred citizens, of an informer every ten houses, of forced
labour affecting nearly one in every 50 each year is one where
suspicion is "the primary lens through which others are viewed", where
"We have no mouths, only ears".
It is hard to be brave on the breadline. Hard when you know how they
torture. Hard if you think you can never win. A Burmese psychiatrist
tells Fink: "People have regressed under military rule. They have
become more dependent. They have learnt helplessness." But they cried
for democracy in 1990.
If you listen through these pages, they are still crying. Silently.
By Rosemary Righter
The BurmaNet News is an Internet newspaper providing comprehensive
coverage of news and opinion on Burma (Myanmar) from around the world.
If you see something on Burma, you can bring it to our attention by
emailing it to strider@xxxxxxx
To automatically subscribe to Burma's only free daily newspaper in
English, send an email to:
To subscribe to The BurmaNet News in Burmese, send an email to:
You can also contact BurmaNet by fax:
(Japan) +81 (3) 4512-8143
Burma News Summaries available by email or the web
There are three Burma news digest services available via either email or
Burma News Update
Availability: By fax or the web.
Viewable online at
Published by: Open Society Institute, Burma Project
The Burma Courier
Availability: E-mail, fax or post. To subscribe or unsubscribe by email
Viewable on line at: http://www.egroups.com/group/BurmaCourier
Note: News sources are cited at the beginning of an article.
Interpretive comments and background
details are often added.
Viewable online at http://www.worldviewrights.org/pdburma/today.html
To subscribe, write to pdburma@xxxxxxxxx
Published by: PD Burma (The International Network of Political Leaders
Promoting Democracy in Burma)
EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://igc.topica.com/u/?b1dbSX.b1CGhI
Or send an email To: burmanet-unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
This email was sent to: reg.burma@xxxxxxxxxx
T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail!