Avaaz Petition For Aung San Suu Kyi

And all of Burma’s political prisoners sign here.

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Free Aung San Suu Kyi Demonstration London

Free Aung San Suu Kyi Demonstration London – May 18th

 Join this demonstration to free Aung San Suu Kyi after she was arrested by the Burmese regime and taken to the notorious Insein Prison.

 Protest outside the Burmese Embassy, London, for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all of Burma’s political prisoners

 Date:18 May 2009

Time: 12:00 – 13:00

Location:Burmese Embassy Street: 19A Charles Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5DX

Town/City: London, United Kingdom

Event on Facebook.

View Map 

Find out more about Aung San Suu Kyi here

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The Generals Get Another Excuse To Persecute Aung San Suu Kyi

The odd story of an American tourist swimming to Aung San Suu Kyi’s compound where she is held under house arrest has now given the junta the excuse to charge the opposition leader/rightfully elected head of state and move her from her house arrest to Insein jail. She is to be charged with breaching the conditions of her detention, a detention that was imposed by the military dictators to remove her after she won the election. This is a way for the military to weaken democratic opposition ahead of the staged ‘elections’ they plan in 2010.  The Burma Campaign ask for people to go to this page of their site and for starters send an email putting pressure on ASEAN leaders & the UN. What further and more effective action can be taken I will pass on later along with more info.

After Escaping Burma, Migrants Face Brutal Exploitation

(IPS) – The mistreatment of Burmese migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Malaysia is the focus of a report released Thursday by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

After receiving disturbing reports of trafficking in 2007, committee staff conducted a year-long review of the allegations. The report, “Trafficking and Extortion of Burmese Migrants in Malaysia and Southern Thailand,” is based on first person accounts of extortion and trafficking in Malaysia and along the Malaysia-Thailand border. Committee information comes from experiences of Burmese refugees resettled in the United States and other countries.

Many Burmese migrants, escaping extensive human rights abuses perpetrated by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the Burmese military junta, travel to Malaysia to register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for resettlement to a third country, according to the report.

Once in Malaysia, Burmese migrants are often arrested by Malaysian authorities, whether or not they have registered with the UNHCR and have identification papers. Burmese migrants are reportedly taken by Malaysian government personnel from detention facilities to the Malaysia-Thailand border for deportation.

Upon arrival at the Malaysia-Thailand border, human traffickers reportedly take possession of the migrants and issue ransom demands on an individual basis. Migrants state that freedom is possible only once money demands are met. Specific payment procedures are outlined, which reportedly include bank accounts in Kuala Lumpur to which money should be transferred.

It has become commonplace for the authorities to use the vigilante RELA force to periodically arrest and “deport” Rohingyas, a Muslim minority, but since Burma does not recognise them as citizens, the practise is to take them to the Bukit Kayu Hitam area on the Thai-Malaysia border and force them to cross over into Thailand.

Migrants state that those unable to pay are turned over to human peddlers in Thailand, representing a variety of business interests from fishing boats to brothels.

Human rights activists have long charged that immigration, police and other enforcement officials, have been “trading” Rohingyas to human traffickers in Thailand who then pass them on to deep sea fishing trawler operators in the South China Sea.

“People seeking refuge from oppression in Burma are being abused by Malaysian government officials and human traffickers,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

The committee has received numerous reports of sexual assaults against Burmese women by human traffickers along the border. One non-profit organisation official states that “Most young women deported to the Thai border are sexually abused, even in front of their husbands, by the syndicates, since no one dares to intervene as they would be shot or stabbed to death in the jungle.” Women are generally sold into the sex industry.

“(The Burmese refugees) are treated as a commodity and frequently bought and sold and we have been condemning this practise for a long time,” Irene Fernandez, executive director of Tenaganita, a non-profit group that protects migrant workers, told IPS in January. “Our demands have always fallen on deaf ears despite the accumulating evidence of the involvement of uniformed officials in the trade.”

The report, the first of three, states that Malaysia does not officially recognise refugees, due in part to concern by the government that official recognition of refugees would encourage more people to enter Malaysia, primarily for economic reasons. Also, Malaysian officials view migrants as a threat to Malaysia’s national security.

“Malaysia does not recognise key international agreements on the protection of refugees and foreign nationals. Nor does it apply to foreign migrants the same rights and legal protections given to Malaysian citizens,” Fernandez said.

Foreign labor is an integral building block of Malaysia’s upward economic mobility. While Malaysia’s total workforce is 11.3 million, there are approximately 2.1 million legal foreign workers and an additional one million illegal workers, though no accurate information is available.

While Malaysia accepts the presence of Burmese and others from outside of the country for the purpose of contributing to the work force, persons identified as refugees and asylum seekers on their way to a third country are viewed as threats to national security.

In an interview with The New York Times, RELA’s director-general, Zaidon Asmuni, said, “We have no more Communists at the moment, but we are now facing illegal immigrants. As you know, in Malaysia, illegal immigrants are enemy No. 2.”


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Burmese Junta Releases Prisoners In PR Move

The headline figure is over 6,000 released with a whopping, er… 23 being political prisoners, hmmm-

(Mizzima) – The Assistant Association for Political Prisoners Burma, an activist group, has said that at least 23 political prisoners were included among the 6313 prisoners, who have been given amnesty by Burma’s ruling junta on Saturday.

The Thailand-based AAPP-B, which monitors the situation of political prisoners in Burma, said so far the junta had released over 6,000 prisoners, including only 23 political prisoners, a few monks, members of the opposition party – National League for Democracy, and other activists.

Burma’s ruling military junta, which has persistently denied the presence of political prisoners in Burma, on Friday said, it would grant amnesty to prisoners, who had a record of good conduct as a second chance to rebuild their lives and prepare themselves to participate in the upcoming 2010 elections.

However, critics and opposition parties said there might be other reasons for the release than merely granting the prisoners a second chance, as the junta, which has a history of making moves to decrease mounting international pressure, cannot be trusted.

Tate Naing, General Secretary of AAPP-B said, the prisoners release was a part of the junta’s efforts to ease off pressure mounting on them, and was a show case, as there were few political prisoners included, among those released.

“It is very much evident, the junta wants to ease pressure from the international community and this is the way they act, whenever they face mounting pressure,” Tate Naing said.

The announcement of the release of 6,313 prisoners across the country came a day after the United Nations Human Rights envoy wound up a six-day visit to the country. During the visit, Tomas Ojea Quintana said he had suggested to Burma’s military authorities to implement progressive release of political prisoners.

Pascal Khoo-Thwe Feb 23, 2009 (DVB)…the generals only release a few political prisoners when they have major political gains to make, such as the time when it wanted to sell its new constitution to the international community last year and now ahead of the proposed 2010 election. The junta is like people who give only the smallest amount and the poorest quality to other people and want to get all the best things from them. When I checked the numbers of other prisoners released I noticed that they don’t add up, and I started to doubt whether 9002 prisoners were actually released last year or 6313 this year. The junta has never released the list of prisoners released from each jail or allowed independent groups to monitor the releases.

Burma, Iraq, Peru, Gaza

Jotman posts about a change in Thailand relations with Burma-

Irrawaddy reports that Thailand’s new PM Abhisit said it is time for “change” in regards to Thailand’s policy with regards to Burma…What this could mean in practice remains unclear, but considering that Thailand has been one of the junta’s staunchest defenders, it is a hopeful sign that a Thai PM would acknowledge this much.

Meanwhile yesterday was Muntadhar al-Zeidi’s birthday, he was 30 and still in jail-

“Muntadhar was in a good shape, his wounds were healed and his morale was high. Yesterday was his birthday and some patriotic officers there organized a party for him and brought birthday cake,” his other brother Dhargham told The Associated Press.

The brother who met with Muntadhar was taken by bus to the detention center and two army officers supervised the meeting. The journalist is being held alone in a comfortable room with a bed and a TV set, his brother said. “He is being visited frequently by doctors. The food is very good,” the brother added.

The visit was allowed after it was reported he had only been allowed 2 visitors and was in bad shape, so this is in part a PR stunt with of course enough time passed for his healing to be well advanced and one brother carefully shadowed by guards. Any bets how long he has had a decent cell and TV? And how free are the family to speak out, in a ‘democracy’ built through death by George ‘now I am admitting to torture’ Bush.

Peru, there is more to come on the Majaz Mine/Monterrico Metals torture, my previous and Otto’s latest, the mine manager who according to one witness ordered the torture, Andrew Bristow, refuses to discuss it. But this isn’t going away the Human Rights National Coordinator of Peru organisation (CNDDHH) is sending a representative to London in the next few days. So ex-ambassador Richard Ralph and the former UK owners might get some attention for their roles in the illegal mine and torture-

1. Beating with the weapons, instruments, kicking, punching; including both women. This caused, besides hematomas, bruises and bleeding, a broken jawbone of at least one of the victims.
2. Remaining tied in forced positions during long periods of time. Besides, of being forced to walk on a dangerous and rough surface (steep, mountain zone) with noshoes and blindfolded. During this the victims tell having felt strong fear of being thrown over the cliff by the police staff.
3. Asphyxia and trouble breathing as well as exposure to toxic products.
4. Prolonged exposure to cold and damp with little clothing, even wet in sierra zones. Including massive exposure to parasite insects.
5. Deprivation of sleep and obliged to remain seated.
6. Deprivation of water and food, during the first 24 hours of detainment.
7. Deprivation of access to toilet facilities and general hygiene, obliged to perform their physiological processes in front of third persons.
8. Death threats and greater physical aggressions, the prolongation of the detention, drug trafficking accusations and terrorism accusations, among other insults and humiliation.
9. Sexual abuse, rape threats directed in general to men and women at the moment of detention. Both women kidnapped were threatened repeatedly of being raped and submitted to different kinds of sexual abuse like touching and blows to their sexual zones.
10. Exposure to others torture.
11. Forced partial nudity.
12. Deprivation of sight.

Full pdf- Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos- Majaz Mine

My instinct on reading that is while such treatment is not new in the oppressors arsenal since the Bush regime it has become more prevalent and easier to get away with, such is the metastasizing cancer of torture. However this case can be pursued and those responsible sanctioned, although some other worrying news from Peru shows the government using the war-on-terror ™ to repress ‘leftists’ and journalists. The British connection to the Majaz torture though does present possibilities for cases to be brought here, not that we don’t have our own corrupt authoritarian government to deal with too.

The attack on the UN infrastructure in Gaza, buildings and essential workshops, as well as Palestinian hospitals, schools and University show Israel is after destroying  very fabric of Palestinian society, to bomb them back into the stone age. To take land, call it a security zone while imprisoning Gaza in the open air, possibly the world’s largest concentration camp. The removed story (I guess Haaretz ran foul of Israel’s omnipresent military censors..only democracy etc) of IDF soldiers using Hamas uniforms to prosecute special ops also includes a detail that they used an ambulance as a military vehicle for their infiltration, another war crime and ironically something they accuse Hamas of ad nauseam, maybe they knew to bring up the accusation because by dressing as Hamas and using an ambulance they were making it true, like The Sun’s story of Islamic Terror!! which was entirety created by… The Sun.

Israel may be achieving some of its racist colonial zionist goals but it has (at least outside America) lost the war of public opinion, another tip to add to boycotts 729-

Keep an eye on the goods bar code: Israel’s country prefix is 729.

Although as Craig Murray points out there is a law in America that makes it illegal to boycott Israeli goods unless the government sanctions it, land of the free…

And should you still be wondering in some ahistorical fug why the anger in Gaza-

In 2000, Doron Almog, then the chief of the southern command, began policing the boundaries of Gaza: ‘We established observation points equipped with the best technology and our troops were allowed to fire at anyone reaching the fence at a distance of six kilometres,’ he boasted, suggesting that a similar policy be adopted for the West Bank. In the last two years alone, a hundred Palestinians have been killed by soldiers merely for getting too close to the fences. From 2000 until the current war broke out, Israeli forces killed three thousand Palestinians (634 children among them) in Gaza.

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Burmese Junta Sentences Activists to 65 years

Via Jotman. Absolutely appalling sentences, meant to crush the prisoners and terrify other dissenters-

The family members of 39 Burmese dissidents have tears in their eyes today. Fourteen leading activists of the 88 Generation Students group, including five women, were given 65-year prison sentences in a court in Insein Prison. At the same time, 25 other activists, including five monks and women who took part in the September 2007 uprising, were sentenced to up to 26 years imprisonment. The well-known labor activist Su Su Nway was sentenced to 12 and half years.

The lengthy sentences demonstrate that the oppressive regime is determined to crack down on pro-democracy groups in keeping with its slogan “annihilation of destructive elements and foreign stooges.” It also shows that the regime is simply ignoring calls from the international community for the release of political prisoners.

The longer sentences are designed to discourage dissent. And the new, harsher policy is also being directed at attorneys who are brave enough to represent activists. In October and November, three lawyers who represented dissidents also were sentenced to from four to six months for contempt of court.

The military leaders understand well that the world is divided into at least two camps: a sanctions-oriented policy versus engagement-oriented. The world is divided and the junta has benefited. If the world united behind a single policy that combined elements of both strategies, some progress might be possible, using a combination of economic sanctions, engagement and other creative approaches.

65 years is to be made into the living dead. While the generals live in a purpose built capital in luxury…

Burma- NLD Mark 20 Years

NLD 20th Anniversary (AFP)

Police in Myanmar are keeping a close watch on the headquarters of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) as the party marks its 20th anniversary. A number of recently released political prisoners, including Win Tin, Myanmar’s longest-serving political prisoner, were among the 350 people attending Saturday’s ceremony.

Those attending the ceremony were videotaped and watched by at least 50 plainclothes security personnel. Witnesses said that between three and six NLD members were detained by members of the pro-government Swan Ah Shin group. Party officials said they were forced into a truck and taken to their homes.

In a statement to mark the anniversary, the party reiterated its call for the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for most of the last 19 years, and her deputy Tin Oo. It also demanded the freedom of Buddhist monks and ethnic leaders arrested by the military government.

“An indelible black stain will be tainted in the political history of Burma by the omission of the authorities to perform according to the laws enacted by themselves,” it said, referring to the country by its former name.

1 Year On

Myanmar pro-democracy groups and activists are marking the first anniversary of a bloody crackdown on anti-government demonstrations by the country’s ruling military. The crackdown last September followed weeks of protests triggered by a sudden hike in fuel prices after the government slashed subsidies.

The price rises added massively to the hardships suffered by many of Myanmar’s people, millions of whom struggle with grinding poverty on a daily basis. But one year on from the protests Al Jazeera’s special correspondent in Myanmar said the situation in the country was, if anything, worse. Our correspondent, who we are not naming for safety reasons, says a noticeable rise in the number of street beggars indicates increased hunger while child labour remains commonplace.

More than 7,000 police were deployed throughout Rangoon on Thursday in a security clampdown that followed a bomb blast near the former capital’s City Hall.

A police source disclosed the extent of the clampdown to The Irrawaddy and said there were plans to raid the homes of dissidents, particularly youth members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). Travelers at Rangoon bus stations who could not provide identification documents in police checks were being arrested, said one source.

At least eight people were injured in Thursday morning’s bomb explosion, which occurred at a bus stop outside the Maha Bandoola Garden.

More later.

Ban Ki-moon has said that he will go to Burma later this year, write to him now, tell him why he must secure the release of all of Burma’s political prisoners, email him here: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/un_action.html

Political prisoners in Burma subjected to horrific torture, routinely denied medical treatment and survive on rotten food and dirty water. Prisoners like Mya Aye, who has been detained in Insein Prison, Rangoon, since August 2007 without charge. He has been imprisoned for 8 of the last 18 years and is denied medical treatment even though he has heart problems and has already suffered one heart attack.

Email Ban Ki-moon now and help us secure the release of all of Burma’s political prisoners: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/un_action.html. Your email will be copied to all of the Security Council members, ensuring that the world doesn’t forget Burma’s political prisoners.

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Win Tin Released In Burma

As noted below though this does appear a PR move by the junta, people’s lives are just pawns in their political game and right now they want to defuse the anniversary of the crackdown, nevertheless this is good news-

One of Burma’s most prominent political detainees, Win Tin, was released from jail today after 19 years’ imprisonment, and vowed to continue to fight for democracy in the country.

The ailing journalist, one of Burma’s longest-serving political detainees, was one of the founders of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).

The 79-year-old, suffering a host of medical problems after long years in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison, was freed along with seven leading political figures, as part of a wider amnesty for 9,002 prisoners — the vast number of them drug dealers and petty criminals. State-controlled media announced they were being released “so they could participate in the fair elections to be held in 2010”.

Although exiled dissidents welcomed the release of Win Tin and the others, they dismissed it as a cynical ploy by the junta to defuse tensions as world leaders gather for the UN summit in New York amid calls for even tougher sanctions.

“We’re happy for those who have been released,” said Bo Kyi, of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma. “But they were freed because the UN general assembly is starting and leaders want to put more pressure on Burma. The regime thinks this is a way to relieve it.”

The other freed political prisoners included four MPs and an activist from the NLD — Mae Win Myint, Aung Soe Myint, Khin Maung Soe, Dr Than Nyein and Thein Naing — and an aide to the detained Suu Kyi, 63, Win Htein.

All had spent more than a decade in jail, long ago serving out the sentences they were originally given, but detained on the regime’s whim.

They were among Burma’s 2,130 political prisoners — from a prison population of between 80,000 and 100,000 — many of them detained around the army crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising a year ago that left at least 31 people dead.

Cyber Attack on Burmese Dissident Sites

Jotman reports:-

Two leading dissident websites the Irrawaddy (out of Chang Mai, Thailand) and the Democratic Voice of Burma (out of Norway) have been shut down due to cyberattacks. The Irrawaddy reports (from an alternate site):

Our Web site has been crippled and disabled by DDoS attacks since Wednesday.. . . Our Web hosting companies have been assisting us day and night tracing IP addresses to identify the cyber criminals.

Exiled media organizations, including The Irrawaddy, believe that foreign agents and cyber criminals have been hired to attack exiled Burmese Web sites.

We have offered our solidarity to fellow media Web sites, including the Democratic Voice of Burma and New Era Journal. They too have been badly crippled by the DDoS attacks.

The sites were also attacked a year ago at the time of the uprising, so this might be a pre-emptive attack by the junta. Jotman also says 212 monks are being held in prison and (this I missed) Aung Sun Suu Kyi was refusing food but now-

Burma’s detained opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has accepted food rations for the first time in a month. A Burmese regime official today said a package of food left at the crumbling lakeside villa where she has spent 13 of the past 19 years was picked up yesterday evening.

Nyan Win, a spokesman for her National League for Democracy (NLD), said Suu Kyi had decided to resume collecting the supplies after the regime granted some of her demands over living conditions.

The acceptance of the food came amid concerns over the 63-year-old Nobel laureate’s health. Her doctor, Tin Myo Win, examined her for four hours on Sunday and said she was malnourished after declining most of the regime’s food since August 16.

The concessions she won were-

…military junta will allow the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to receive letters from her two sons as well as some foreign magazines, slightly easing her stringent house arrest, according her lawyer.

The lawyer, Kyi Win, also said [ast]Friday that the junta had promised to ease restrictions on her two housekeepers, whose movement has also been limited, according to wire service reports from Myanmar and exile groups in Thailand.

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Burma To Square One

The UN process being seen to be useless is now no longer being cooperated with by the opposition, compounded with Nargis and the Olympics passing without China being unduly embarrassed and the refusal of large corporations (Total, Chevron/Texaco) to halt regime enriching business while politician’s condemned the junta but not their corporate allies, have meant the Generals have clung on to power.

(IPS) – A United Nations-led effort to push political reform in military-ruled Burma plunged to a humiliating low on the weekend, raising questions about the effectiveness of the world body’s special envoy to the country, Ibrahim Gambari.

This shift was conveyed in the way Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained pro-democracy leader, treated Gambari during his six-day mission, which ended on Aug. 23. She refused to see him on at least two occasions. It was a silence of Gandhian proportions for the Nobel Peace laureate and, for the U.N. envoy, an unprecedented snub.

Deprived, as a result, was the photo opportunity that Gambari had used after his three previous visits to Burma, over the past year, to give the impression that he was making headway with Suu Kyi in paving the road for political reform. The images of the Nigerian diplomat posing with the 63-year-old Suu Kyi, who has spent over 13 of the past 18 years under house arrest, suggested she had confidence in the U.N.

But a scene outside the Rangoon home of Suu Kyi on Friday morning confirmed that Gambari’s luck had run out. The leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party refused to open the gates of her rambling colonial mansion to two of Gambari’s representatives who had come to invite her for a meeting, after she had turned down an invitation at a state guest house 48 hours before. Read the rest of this entry »

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20 Years Ago

[click to enlarge]

The people of Myanmar are marking exactly 20 years since a military crackdown on a student-led democracy uprising left an estimated 3,000 dead. But after last year’s large-scale rallies that were also brutally crushed, the ruling generals were taking no chances on Friday and the only protests were likely to be outside the country.

Meanwhile Olympic fans- Police State 2.0 Ready for Export. Can you outrun what’s coming?

Total Wankers

Total have pulled out of operations in Iran, meanwhile they continue to operate and justify their presence in Burma. Hey it’s just business, Burma makes money, Iran could be attacked thus investments would be hit so the bottom line says no. Ain’t capitalism grand?

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Burma Birthday

A team from the Department for International Development has returned from a trip to Burma’s Irrawaddy delta region, the area worst affected by cyclone Nargis. Their photographs show the scale of the devastation wreaked by the storm six weeks ago.

It’s also Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday, in her 13th year of detention.

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