Burma Strange

The junta has hushed up a bird flu outbreak-

The military government’s censorship board in Burma has banned some media from publishing news about a new bird flu outbreak which was confirmed on October 20, according to a journalist who requested anonymity.

A journalist in Rangoon told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the junta’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Board censored a story reporting information about a confirmed H5N1 bird flu outbreak on a farm in Thanatpin Township in Pegu Division, about 80 km north of Rangoon. The story would have been distributed on Monday.

The latest H5N1 bird flu outbreak was reported to the OIE-World Organization for Animals on October 24 by the regime’s Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, according to the OIE Web site. The report was submitted by Maung Maung Nyunt, the director general of the LBVD.

The OIE Web site said tests by the Rangoon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed on October 20 that the fowl died of the H5N1 virus. The Burmese report sent to the OIE said the bird flu outbreak killed 400 chickens and ducks. The authorities reportedly killed 33,459 fowl to try to contain the virus. A local resident contacted by The Irrawaddy said the owners of the fowl were not compensated.

And is also receiving help from the Thai authorities to suppress exile groups-

A Burmese exile media organization in Bangkok has dropped its Web site news service “temporarily,” amid reports of a crackdown on such operations on Thai territory that carry material critical of Burma’s junta.

The reports surfaced last week and caused other exile media groups in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Mae Sot to lower their profile. There were warnings of possible raids by Thai police and immigration authorities.

A source at the Democratic Voice of Burma said the DVB’s office in Chiang Mai was still operating but was taking a low profile. Myint Wai, of the Bangkok-based Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that his group is also vigilant in view of the reports of a possible crackdown. The TACDB’s operations are mainly focused on Burmese migrant workers, many of whom have no legal documents. 

And while 73 people have been freed from Insein prison many are still in the system and one activist in hiding has turned up dead. Taiwan is going to support the Burmese democracy movement with a task force based at their representative office in Thailand, which should please China no end…

A report (but unsubstantiated) that the junta is little effected by Bush’s much trumpeted sanctions-

The Burmese American citizens, in a letter to the US embassy in Rangoon, with a copy to the US State Department, mentioned names of several Burma’s ruling generals and their business associates including tycoon Tayza, of possessing visas or living in the US and undertaking financial transactions.

The group, which cannot be contacted, in the letter sent on October 28 said, several family members of the ruling generals and their associates are living in the US and are helping the generals transfer money for businesses through their bank accounts. Besides, a few generals are stated to have visited the US despite a ban on travel imposed on them, said the group. “The fact is that they all had visas issued by the US embassy in Rangoon ,” the group said in the letter.

Meanwhile, an email message, supposedly from Htet Tayza, son of Burmese business tycoon Tayza, doing the rounds among the Burmese community in exile, said the US sanctions against Burma and particularly on the ruling generals and their associate has had little impact on them as they control the economy of Burma.

While the authenticity of the email message cannot be proved, Htet Tayza in the message said, “US bans us? Lol we are still cool in Singapore. We’re sitting on the whole Burmese GDP (Gross Domestic Product). We’ve got timber, gems and gas to be sold to countries like Singapore, China, India and Russia.”

However, business tycoon Tayza, Burmese junta head Snr. General Than Shwe’s right-hand man, was forced to suspend his Air Bagan flights to Singapore as insurers stopped dealing with the company following the US and European Union’s extension of sanctions on the Burmese generals as a response to the brutal crackdown on monk-led peaceful demonstrations in September.

And now we fall further down the rabbit hole, in steps the American Enterprise Institute, like a vampire saying what a pretty neck you have-

Burma’s Saffron Revolution: How should the world respond?” was hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on the 16th of October.

I don’t think I have ever used ‘saffron revolution’, it is clearly a branding, a hijack whose antecedence we find in the Ukraine, Belarus and Serbia etc. as well as being inaccurate (the robes are dark red!) it is the cover for the realpolitik manoeuvering of the empire. One can support the fight for people power and freedom in Burma without buying into the ‘saffron revolution’ brand empire, whose record on human rights and real freedom brings frying pans and fires to mind.

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Free Burma- Now With Updates

f-burma.jpg
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

Find your UK elected reps here and contact them, EU MEP’s are important here as the EU has been very soft on the junta, tell them to cut that shit out. Also They Work For You. Gordon Brown claims Aung San Suu Kyi is a hero of his, so remind him to stand by his heroes –No. 10 contact page. Use the Dirty List (see comments for emails that are bouncing/undeliverable) and follow the instructions, go to the Burma campaign for demo and writing details.

Updates:-

The UN special envoy’s visit to Myanmar cannot be called a success, the UN secretary-general has said. However, Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that Ibrahim Gambari delivered “the strongest possible message” to the country’s military rulers over its bloody crackdown on anti-government protests. “You cannot call it a success,” he said, while stopping short of calling Gambari’s visit a failure.

Sen. Gen. Than Shwe told UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari during their talks on Tuesday that he is willing to meet Aung San Suu Kyi if she gives up her calls for confronting the government and for imposing sanctions on it, state TV and radio reported.

 ARRESTS: According to latest information, governmernt officials in Burma have confessed that about 2100 activists, Monks and laymen.

About 50 students from Mandalay have been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in a hard labour camp…A judicial official in Mandalay confirmed to DVB that the students had been brought before the court and sentenced before being sent to Kabaw prison work camp in Sagaing. Orders for the move were given to officials by the Minister of Industry (1), Aung Thaung.

Note that the minister of industry, that’ll be your slave labour any corporation trading with Burma uses and supports by definition.

Fifty people have been arrested in Sittwe and another 50 in Pakokku, as well as an unknown number of monks, as Burmese security forces continue to crack down on public dissent. Pakokku residents told DVB that police officials had made the arrests at around 1pm yesterday from several different places for an unknown reason. Among those detained were Pakokku people’s parliament representative U Hlaing Aye, National League for Democracy member Ko Tin Nyunt, and 84-year-old U Ba Min, who has been suffering from heart problems and hypertension and has difficulty walking. 

Five monasteries were raided in Rangoon and about 36 monks were arrested overnight on Wednesday, after receiving beatings from soldiers. “They (soldiers) came and searched for monks on their lists,” a monk told The Irrawaddy. The soldiers had photographs of monks, and if they found a monk who was in a photograph, they arrested all the monks in the monastery, said the monk.

A University has been closed and students sent home while stop & search is epidemic in Rangoon. Jotman tracks the defecting officer story and links it to other mass arrests and disappearances, Are mass killings taking place?

So there we have it: Three reports detailing the mass executions of monks. One report that the junta has ordered the extermination of prisoners. And many reports that monks have “disappeared” or are being moved to far away concentration camps. Put the reports together and you have a nightmare scenerio occuring in Burma at this moment. 

The resistance is regrouping, this is not over-

A spokesperson for the All-Burmese Monks Alliance has said that monks and civilians are still working hard to change the political system despite the apparent lull in their activities.

Rangoon, Burma’s former capital and its biggest city, is still a battleground, where terror reigns. The territory is held for now by the military forces who won the first engagement by killing their own people and the monks who called for freedom from four decades of oppression. The temporary victors, the “Tatmadaw” (or armed forces) continue to arrest, beat, torture and kill innocent people. Released detainees, monks and residents alike agree that the demonstrations aren’t over yet. “Weapons can’t stop us,” said one protestor. “We will continue until we get freedom.”

Monks joining armed resistance groups-

Many monks who escaped arrest in the junta’s crackdown on mass demonstrations in Rangoon and Mandalay are returning to villages in ethnic areas and joining armed resistance groups. A Shan monk who escaped across the mountainous border into Thailand told a Thai TV reporter he intended leaving his order and enlisting in the Shan State Army-South, which is fighting the army in eastern Burma. The Shan State Army-South, led by a charismatic colonel with homes in Burma and in Chiang Mai, Thailand, has pinned down whole Burmese divisions in a years-long struggle for independence. “I have seen how the army guns down peaceful monks,” said the refugee monk. “We have to hit back.” Groups of monks are also heading for Burma’s Karen and Kachin States, where rebel armies are engaged in ceaseless combat with Burma’s overstretched forces.

And their spirit is strong-

A statement issued by the People’s Movement Leader Committee has called for nationwide prayer meetings to honour those who were killed in the recent protests. PMLC was formed on 27 September and is comprised of a number of Burmese groups including the All-Burmese Monks Alliance, the 88 Generation Students and the Ethnic Youth Cooperation Group. The statement calls on monks, students and civilians of all religions and ethnic groups to gather at their own places of worship from 5 October to 7 October to light candles and observe a period of silent prayer. Buddhists are also asked to raise sangha flags at their houses and monasteries.

Also for the rest of us-

Supporters of Burmese protestors from around the world are planning a global day of protests on 6 October to raise awareness of the situation in Burma and call for international action. Demonstrations are already planned in many major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, and organisers hope that more locations will be added. Most of the protests are set to start at 12 noon (local time).

Click here- Burma Campaign UK 

Islanders! North Wales: will be at the Total garage in Llandudno on Sat 6th October from 4.30pm for a peaceful protest – we’ll be reciting the Metta Sutta, giving out leaflets and tying our red bands to the pumps.  Anyone welcome.

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