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

BurmaNet News: June 12, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         June 12, 2001   Issue # 1823
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*Reuters: Suu Kyi brother changes demand in Myanmar suit
*Shan Herald Agency for News:  Shan militia leader grabbed and beaten

MONEY _______
*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 
not discourteous 

*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 
not intervene. 
 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 
the top. 

"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. 

Natee Vichitsorasatra 


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 
then left. 

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 
the border. 

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 


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 
official said. 

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 
Koh Song. 

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 
operations unit. 

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 
military movements. 

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. 

Surath Jinakul 


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 
kidnapping report. 


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 
this report. 

[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 


___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

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, 
he said. 

"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. 

Vorapun Srivoranart 


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 
the border. 

"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 
government's initiatives. 


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' 
continuing efforts. 
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.

Twelve Issues
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  
Chiangmai University.);

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

12. Poverty

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.

Army concerned
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.

Business concern

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 
not discourteous 

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 
agreement expired. 

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's people  

 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:

(US) +1(413)604-9008

(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 
the web.

Burma News Update
Frequency: Biweekly
Availability: By fax or the web.
Viewable online at 
Cost: Free
Published by: Open Society Institute, Burma Project

The Burma Courier 
Frequency: Weekly 
Availability: E-mail, fax or post.  To subscribe or unsubscribe by email 
Viewable on line at: http://www.egroups.com/group/BurmaCourier
Cost: Free
Note: News sources are cited at the beginning of an article. 
Interpretive comments and background
details are often added.

Burma Today
Frequency: Weekly
Availability: E-mail
Viewable online at http://www.worldviewrights.org/pdburma/today.html
To subscribe, write to pdburma@xxxxxxxxx
Cost: Free
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!