Thursday Blog Action For Burma

Just got this in a comment:-

Free Burma!
International Bloggers’ Day for Burma on the 4th of October

International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning to refrain from posting to their blogs on October 4 and just put up one Banner then, underlined with the words „Free Burma!“.

www.free-burma.org

Which is fine and dandy and I will support something that shows solidarity, however I don’t think me not posting for a whole day while shit is still going down in Burma is actually as helpful as continuing to blog about it. Um, I mean I think it works if it focuses your blog for the day on Burma and you refrain from other subjects, perhaps use the downtime from blogging to send notes to companies trading with the regime and contact your elected representatives and make sure they know they must help the democracy movement. Also there are demos planned so check for those-

On Saturday 6th October there will be an international day of action, with marches and protests. A non-stop vigil is also being held outside Parliament.

But I think I will continue although I will solely post about Burma on (Thursday) the 4th.

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Blair Agreed To Attack On Iran

Well according to Sy Hersh’s latest-

During a video conference over the summer, Bush allegedly told Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq, that he was considering striking Iranian targets across the border and that the British “were on board,” according to the article.

But it’s mostly about a change of focus, selling the attack as protecting the marauding troops in Iraq-

President George W. Bush has requested the Joint Chiefs of Staff revise plans for a possible attack on Iran, with the focus on “surgical” raids against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps which Washington accuses of targeting US forces in Iraq, the magazine wrote.

Previous contingency plans called for a more elaborate bombing campaign against suspected nuclear sites in Iran as well as other infrastructure, the magazine reported, citing unnamed former officials and government consultants.

Bush and his advisers have adopted the new “counter-terrorism” approach recognizing the US public is not convinced that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat and that the US intelligence community believes Tehran is at least five years away from obtaining an atomic bomb. 

As Blairwatch asks, dos the change of PM alter that position of support? Now how can I put this, it fucking well better Gordon or guess who you are sharing a cell with until you die? Oh yeah and ‘cell’ is a best case scenario for you two NuLab fuckwits, capice?

Burma: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Money

As I linked to in the previous post and MOA also reports on the Burma campaign- us, yes we, have succeed in making two companies that trade with Burma halt their business that benefits the junta. One of them from the Dirty list I wrote to, I didn’t get a reply but I don’t mind, seems the MD was growing a conscience-

The Burma Campaign UK today warmly welcomed announcements by Timbmet and K J Howells and Son that they will no longer sell teak from Burma. Timber exports are a major source of revenue for the regime in Burma.

In an email to the Burma Campaign, K J Howells stated: “In light of the recent brutal treatment of the Burmese people by the military, we have made the decision to end all ties with suppliers of Burmese products, and will not place any further orders until a democratic government is put in place. I have contacted my primary supplier, who has also announced their withdrawal of ties with Burma, and we are now together looking at alternative sources.”

Just two words for that, Fuck Yeah! So why not ask the other firms on the Dirty list why they still want be BFF with the Generals, click here includes contact details including email. Also the Burma campaign needs funds, they’ve been providing comment and information for media across the world, hundreds of calls a day, so show them some love click here. Meanwhile –

Around 3,000 people have joined a protest in London today, the biggest demonstration for Burma in the UK so far. Tomorrow demonstrators will converge on the German Embassy, calling on Germany to stop blocking EU economic sanctions.

Background to the EU’s relationship with the junta-

“The current EU Common Position is pathetic,” said Mark Farmaner [Burma Campaign UK]. “It has no economic impact on the regime. If you wanted to design a sanctions regime to miss the mark, this would be it.”

Current EU measures against Burma include:

An arms embargo
Welcome, but the EU has made no effort to secure a United Nations arms embargo, so the regime can still purchase weapons from other countries.

A ban on non-humanitarian aid
Again welcome, but not a measure that has a serious impact on the regime.

An end to GSP trade privileges
Again, no significant economic impact on the regime.

A visa ban for senior regime officials and their families
Otherwise known as the shopping ban, as exemptions in the visa ban allow regime officials to attend many international meetings in Europe. As the British foreign office has admitted, regime officials rarely came to Europe anyway.

A freeze of assets held in Europe by people on the visa ban list
From information released to the Burma Campaign UK by the German and British governments, less than €7,000 has been frozen in all 27 EU member states, again hardly a measure to bring the regime to its knees.

A limited investment ban – targets pineapples, but not gas or timber

Pineapples! Jeebus. Now the US is publicly better, not least because it is a way to lessen Chinese influence in the region, but via GodlessLiberalHomo there is this short history of US oil corporation Unocal/Chevron involvement in Burma-

Even in Burma, however, Bush’s support for human rights yields to his fondness for the oil and gas industry. Burma has large natural gas reserves, and multinational oil corporations want to cash in. Chevron Corporation is currently the largest U.S. investor in Burma, with a partnership stake in the multi-billion-dollar Yadana gas pipeline project. The Yadana project was originally developed by Unocal, another American oil company, which was acquired by Chevron last year. (Although new investment in Burma is prohibited, the pipeline is grandfathered in under an exception, pushed by Unocal, for preexisting projects.)

The Bush administration has close ties to Chevron. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was a member of the Chevron Board of Directors for 10 years before Bush was elected, and even had a Chevron oil tanker named for her until it was quietly renamed after Bush took office. And Halliburton, the oilfield services giant formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has numerous ties to Chevron, signing several multimillion-dollar contracts during Cheney’s tenure.

Indeed, even before Chevron acquired Unocal and the Yadana project, Bush’s government actively took steps to thwart accountability for the Yadana project. When refugees who had suffered rape, torture, enslavement, and murder at the hands of soldiers protecting the Yadana pipeline sued Unocal in U.S. court, the Bush administration intervened to try to convince the courts that the lawsuit should not proceed. The administration essentially argued that, even if the case would not actually interfere with U.S. relations with Burma, holding Unocal liable would create a precedent that could conflict with U.S. foreign policy in other parts of the world.

Much as Sarkozy’s previously mentioned position he professes support for the democracy movement but in reality-

Announcing a freeze of what is already frozen is hardly revolutionary. It allows (the president) to surf on the notion of a French ‘new deal’ for human rights, while protecting French economic interests

So it really is up to us, our governments, the ruling classes, global capital, corporations are not disturbed one bit by a regime reported to be cremating people alive

Myanmar’s proven gas reserves were 19 trillion cubic feet at the end of 2006, according to BP PLC’s World Review of Statistics. While that’s only about 0.3 percent of the world’s total reserves, at current production rates and Thailand’s contract price for gas, the deposits are worth almost $2 billion a year in sales over the next 40 years.

“It points to the potential that Myanmar has,” said Kang Wu, a fellow at the University of Hawaii’s East-West Center in Honolulu.

Altogether, nine foreign oil companies are involved in 16 onshore blocks exploring for oil, enhancing recovery from older fields, or trying to reactivate fields where production has been suspended, according to Total’s Web site. A block is an area onshore or offshore in which an oil company is granted exploratory and discovery rights.

Offshore, nine companies, including Total, Petronas, PTTEP, South Korea’s Daewoo International Corp., Chinese state-run companies China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, are exploring or developing 29 blocks, Total said.

Despite economic sanctions against Myanmar by the United States and the European Union, Total continues to operate the Yadana gas field, and Chevron Corp. has a 28 percent stake through its takeover of Unocal. Existing investments were exempt from the investment ban.

This is about people and the bastards that govern us, in Burma, at home, in the genocide in Iraq and the capital that grows with every death.

UN Envoy Meets Aung San Suu Kyi But Not Top Generals

The BBC report it very positively expecting he will meet the top leaders today, Al jazeera find it more curious that Gambari didn’t initially meet with Senior General Than Shwe or his deputy but has met with the imprisoned opposition leader/elected leader.

“There must be a result from this visit,” said Razali Ismail, a Malaysian diplomat and Gambari’s predecessor as UN special envoy. “[Gambari] must get a promise from the military that they will not shoot the people who express their views [on the streets]. We cannot let the people down,” he said.

All amid the lockdown by the armed forces and the beginning of disappearances-

[The military] has managed to quell any sign of a protest at the moment and judging by the way soldiers are going round the city they are preparing to face an enemy. They have a list of names that they are going through and a lot of people have gone to ground.

We are now getting some reports of disappearances of people.We know at least one journalist who worked for a weekly newspaper has gone missing but do not know exactly how many others have disappeared.

A short translated & transcribed telephone conversation on Ko Htike’s blog-

Er… they shot… people got killed. Er…but it seems like it wasn’t as bad as yesterday in terms of number of deaths, however we will know the accurate picture tomorrow. Er… la another disturbing news is that er… I would like to know if you would inform BBC and CNN about? (sob!!!) They burned the injured protesters/civilian people in the YaeWay Crematorium la la . Er… the staff from crematorium told this, crying, to the people who went to the funeral service. Please let this known to CNN and BBC. Thank you!!

I’m not sure if the implication from that is they cremated people alive. The Karen National Union killed four soldiers in a gun battle-

The KNU spokesperson, Pado Mann Sha, said a unit of Battalion 103 of the Karen National Liberation Army, the armed wing of KNU, ambushed the Burmese troops near the Phalu village in Karen State and killed at least four soldiers.

“I don’t know where this battalion will be posted as they have been ordered to move back to base. I don’t know if they will be deployed in Rangoon to kill protesting monks and students. But it is a reinforcement. That’s why our people have attacked them,” Pado Mann Sha told Mizzima.

He added that the Burmese unit’s strength was about 40 and the half an hour battle left three Burmese army officers and a private dead.

Specially convened military courts have already sentenced captured monks to six years imprisonment-

A senior monk who was taken to Insein Prison by authorities to talk to the monks said they were stripped of their robes and are now wearing prison clothing. Some monks have already been sentenced to six years imprisonment by a specially convened court, he said.

Meanwhile the junta are stage managing as best they can with the UN envoy visiting, quickly restoring sacked monasteries and forcing people into pro-government demonstrations-

Ngway Kyar Yan monastery, which was raided by government troops on Wednesday, was quickly cleaned up and restored by the Ministry of Religious Affairs in advance of United Nations Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari’s arrival in Burma yesterday, according to sources close to the monastery.

Burmese authorities were yesterday forcing local residents to join mass pro-government rallies to show their support for the newly-completed National Convention, according to local sources. A resident of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state in northern Burma, told DVB that authorities demanded that two people from each household join a mass rally held early yesterday morning in Myitkyina stadium to show support for the National Convention.

“We were warned that we would be punished if we didn’t come to the rally. So we attended it because we were afraid,” said the resident.

Despite the lockdown they still gear up to protest and this message is inspiring-

Everyone in Burma is a leader and should individually take to the streets in protest against the junta, said Sayadaw (abbot) U Gamira, whom the junta is searching, told Mizzima while on the run.

“The people should not wait for leaders to lead them, everyone should be a leader in their own right. We have to be individually involved and lead. It is important for everyone to lead at this time. The monks have done a lot and many are now thrown into jails and interrogation camps. And many have to sacrifice their lives,” Sayadaw told Mizzima.

Also some companies on the dirty list finally feel ashamed while Total do not know such an emotion, more on that later.

Burma Saturday Night & Links

To trick Mr.Gambari, UN envoy, the junta announces through their mouth-piece-media that there is a demonstration in Myitkyiinar . Actually that demonstration is a fake one for the junta wants to prove that their soldiers are not terrorist and not shooting at people and it’s also the junta’s plan to hide the truth of their terrorist evidences. At the same time, in Rangoon, the riot police are hitting with iron bar to any group of people whether they are demonstrators or not. After hitting violently, they arrest the people who collapse.

Jotman’s roundup of news here.

Burma links-

Asia-Pacific Peoples’ Partnership on Burma 

Burma Campaign

Burma Digest

Burma Net

Democratic Voice of Burma

Free Burma Rangers

Irrawaddy

Jotman’s blog

Ko Htike’s blog

Mizzima News

And an update from the Burma campaign-

“We are living in hell…. Please help us.”

Just half an hour ago, despite the regime’s attempts to cut off communication, we received a message from Rangoon. They want the world to know what is going on in Burma, and appealed for more international pressure.

“Everyone is so afraid. People are scared to go out into the streets, most shops are shut. The world must know what is going on, we need international pressure. If the pressure continues the regime can’t survive. Maybe a few months, but it can’t survive if the pressure continues.”

The Burma Campaign UK is here to deliver that support, to pressure the international community to take action against the regime in Burma. In the past week we received more than 600 calls a day from journalists, and we have made sure that news from Burma has reached the television programmes and newspapers you have been reading. We are pressuring governments to impose targeted economic sanctions, and push for a global arms embargo against the regime. And we are having an impact. Yesterday British Prime Minister Gordon Brown personally called us and pledged to push for strong economic sanctions by the European Union.

But we are a small organisation, desperately short of funds, and we are struggling deliver the support that the people of Burma are asking us for. We need your help.

Please make a donation on our website now. Visit:
http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/

Please take action:
Visit our website at: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/ There will be a new campaign action on our website every day.

Two days ago another person in Rangoon told us “All night long I could hear people screaming and crying out for help. Soldiers were beating everyone they found. We are living in hell. Please help us.”

Please donate as much as you can. We can help them – with your support.
http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/

Mark Farmaner
Burma Campaign UK

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Blackwater Gets War On Drugs Contract & Rendition Plane Crashes With 4 Tons of Cocaine Onboard

Awarded by the Pentagon’s Counter-Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office in Dahlgren, Va., the contract vehicle has a potential value of $15 billion over five years. One participant is ARINC, a Maryland-based provider of airline communications systems.…the other participating vendors are defense giants Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, and security contractor Blackwater USA. Blackwater confirmed its participation, but the other vendors did not respond to inquiries.

Ok now get this, Blackwater are building an airship!

The Blackwater Airships team completed design work at the end of 2006 and is now building the Polar 400 airship. This highly capable RPAV will provide a platform ready to accomodate a wide variety of state-of-the-art surveillance, communications and detection equipment that can record and store events and downlink them in real-time to ground operators.

And that unrelated mysterious rendition plane crash-

U.S. authorities are assisting the Mexican government in the investigation of an American business jet that crashed near Cancun this week with four tons of cocaine on board, officials said Thursday.

One of the men listed as the registered owners of the plane, Joao Luiz Malago, said in a telephone interview from Brazil that his Florida-based company sold the aircraft for $2 million on Sept. 16 to a Lakeland, Fla., man and his partner, who Malago believed was from Miami.

Some news reports have linked the plane to the transport of terrorist suspects to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but those reports cite logs that indicate only that the plane flew twice between Washington, D.C., and Guantanamo and once between Oxford, Conn., and Guantanamo. No terrorist suspects are known to have been transferred to Guantanamo directly from the United States.

The jet, carrying the tail number N987SA, changed hands twice in recent weeks. But how it ended up in the hands of suspected drug traffickers remains a mystery. (h/t Rachel Maddow show)

Of course the CIA have never ever traded in drugs, so there.

Designated As Terrorist Organisations- CIA & US Army

Well they started it!

Iran’s parliament has approved a nonbinding resolution to label the CIA and the US army as “terrorist organisations”. The move is seen as a diplomatic tit-for-tat after the US senate also voted in favour of a motion urging the state department to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a “terrorist organisation.”

The parliament said the two organisations were terrorists for a number of reasons. It said they were involved in dropping nuclear bombs in Japan in World War II and used depleted uranium munitions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. It also said they supported the killings of Palestinians by Israel, bombed and killed Iraqi civilians and tortured terror suspects in prisons.

Um, there’s really nothing to argue with there,

The government is expected to remain silent over the parliament resolution and wait for US reaction before making its decision. On Wednesday, the US senate voted 76-22 in favour of a resolution urging the state department to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organisation.

While the proposal attracted overwhelming bipartisan support, a small group of Democrats said they feared labeling the state-run organisation a terrorist group could be interpreted as a congressional authorisation of military force in Iran.

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