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BS: Should we care about Burmese?

beardedbruce 11 Jun 08 - 03:37 PM
Peace 06 Jun 08 - 11:52 AM
Peace 31 Oct 07 - 03:53 PM
Teribus 31 Oct 07 - 03:50 PM
Kweku 31 Oct 07 - 01:42 PM
saulgoldie 31 Oct 07 - 11:24 AM
beardedbruce 31 Oct 07 - 10:48 AM
goatfell 13 Oct 07 - 08:50 AM
Peace 12 Oct 07 - 09:36 PM
beardedbruce 12 Oct 07 - 09:34 PM
beardedbruce 05 Oct 07 - 02:31 PM
beardedbruce 05 Oct 07 - 02:27 PM
Peace 05 Oct 07 - 02:12 PM
beardedbruce 05 Oct 07 - 02:06 PM
Riginslinger 05 Oct 07 - 07:05 AM
Ron Davies 04 Oct 07 - 01:05 AM
beardedbruce 03 Oct 07 - 09:49 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Oct 07 - 07:38 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 03 Oct 07 - 06:40 PM
Peace 03 Oct 07 - 05:37 PM
Riginslinger 03 Oct 07 - 05:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Oct 07 - 04:48 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 03 Oct 07 - 04:27 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 03 Oct 07 - 04:26 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 03 Oct 07 - 04:23 PM
beardedbruce 03 Oct 07 - 03:28 PM
Riginslinger 03 Oct 07 - 12:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Oct 07 - 11:55 AM
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The Villan 03 Oct 07 - 11:14 AM
Peace 03 Oct 07 - 11:11 AM
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Don(Wyziwyg)T 02 Oct 07 - 07:52 PM
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beardedbruce 01 Oct 07 - 05:49 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 03:37 PM

UN: 10,000 pregnant women need care in Myanmar 36 minutes ago



YANGON, Myanmar - Ten thousand pregnant cyclone survivors are in urgent need of proper care in Myanmar, a U.N. expert said Wednesday, as relief agencies again raised concerns about the junta's willingness to accept foreign aid.

Pregnancy and childbirth were already relatively risky before Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar, one of Asia's poorest countries, said William A. Ryan, a spokesman for the U.N. Population Fund.

More than 100 women give birth every day in the area affected by the cyclone, he told reporters in Bangkok, Thailand.

"The destruction of health centers and loss of midwives have greatly increased the risks," he said. "It is clear that many pregnant women do not have anywhere to go to deliver with skilled assistance."

Ryan said that wrecked health facilities should be rebuilt and there is also a need for trained midwives.

The maternal mortality rate in Myanmar before the May 2-3 storm was 380 per 100,000 births — almost four times the rate in Thailand and 60 times the rate in Japan, Ryan said.

He said the U.N. Population Fund has provided supplies to Myanmar's Health Ministry for distribution to health clinics in 10 affected townships, including hospital equipment and rubber gloves.

Meanwhile, international aid agencies said the government's new guidelines for delivering relief to cyclone survivors could slow their response.

The rules, distributed Tuesday by the government at a meeting with U.N. agencies and private humanitarian organizations, would require a large amount of paperwork and repeated contacts with government agencies.

"Additional steps for seeking approval may unnecessarily delay the relief response," the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a report.

U.N. agencies were assessing the new guidelines, said Amanda Pitt of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The guidelines require most activities by the foreign agencies to be cleared by a government ministry and local authorities. It also requires approval from the so-called Tripartite Core Group, comprising representatives of the government, U.N. agencies and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nation, of which Myanmar is a member.

The U.N. estimates that Nargis affected 2.4 million people and that more than 1 million of them, mostly in the Irrawaddy delta, still need help. The cyclone killed at least 78,000 people, according to the government.

Foreign aid organizations have faced a series of hurdles in trying to provide help for victims of the storm, starting with the government's reluctance to grant anything but a handful of visas to foreigners.

Although helicopters have been allowed — with some delay — to fly supplies to the delta, aid agencies say the government has continued to stall visa applications and delayed allowing foreigners access to the most devastated areas.

Also Wednesday, a state-controlled newspaper, the New Light of Myanmar, said the military rulers were breaking no laws by holding democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for a sixth straight year.

The junta's recent decision to extend her detention by one year sparked international outrage, with the Nobel Peace laureate's party and foreign defense lawyers arguing she could legally be held for only five years.

A commentary in the newspaper said detentions are permissible for as long as six years under a 1975 law.

Suu Kyi has been detained for more than 12 of the last 18 years at her home in Myanmar


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 11:52 AM

No response as yet.

My tax dollars at work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 31 Oct 07 - 03:53 PM

I have once again written to my government. This time it was to my Member of Parliament (because the Prime Minister's office forwarded the last message to LordKnowsWhere and they ain't answerin'). I will post the response if/when.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Teribus
Date: 31 Oct 07 - 03:50 PM

Absolutely amazing saulgoldie, absolutely amazing.

As with Iran, as with Darfur, as most of all with Burma - the country that could actually do something about it and bring a great deal of influence to bear is China. China act on human rights?? China act in support of the democratic will of the people suffering under a military dictatorship?? Pigs might fly but neither of those things will happen not as long as my arse points downwards. Hell the population of Burma have got it good compared to the Tibetans living under Chinese rule.

Please note saulgoldie seemed to by-pass that most useless of all international organisations the United Nations in his bemoaning of the fact the US can do nothing


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Kweku
Date: 31 Oct 07 - 01:42 PM

Life is a puzzle. And it is almost impossible to decipher what goes through the mind of world leaders. I have seen some pictures of the protests but a typical ostrich world like this planet Earth is blind to all this and hey! people like me just don't have the appetite to bother about it because my opinion is just an opinion, it doesn't even get beyond the city in which I live.

What the rest of us can do especially those of us who believe in the power of prayer is to pray and definitely just as the iron curtain came down one day so will the military junta in Burma.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: saulgoldie
Date: 31 Oct 07 - 11:24 AM

Well, if we weren't so embroiled in that silly war in Iraq and we hadn't squandered the good will of the world that we had after September 11, we might be able to actually DO something. Sanctions are certainly something. More may be needed (and I don't mean militarily).

Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 31 Oct 07 - 10:48 AM

Report: Myanmar recruiting child soldiers

Story Highlights

Report: Recruiters target children because of 'continued high desertion rates'

Child soldiers get 18 weeks of training and some are sent to combat zones

Report says some child soldiers are forced to participate in rights abuses
   
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Myanmar's military government, already under criticism for abuses, is recruiting children as young as 10 into its armed forces, a U.S. rights group charged in a report released Wednesday.

The ethnic Karen's guerrilla army was cited in the report for improving its record on child recruits.

Government recruiters target children because of "continued army expansion, high desertion rates and a lack of willing volunteers," the 135-page report by New York-based Human Rights Watch said.

"Military recruiters and civilian brokers receive cash payments and other incentives for each new recruit, even if the recruit clearly violates minimum age or health standards," it said.

Ye Htut, deputy director general of Myanmar's Information Ministry, said the charges were "another example of biased reporting by this organization, which based its report on the baseless accusations and exaggerated lies of insurgent groups on the border."

Allegations against both the government and the ethnic groups for using child soldiers are long-standing, and have been acknowledged by both sides in recent years as the United Nations has highlighted the issue.

The newest accusations come as at least 70 Buddhist monks marched in northern Myanmar for nearly an hour Wednesday, chanting prayers for the first time since a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations, two monks confirmed.

They marched without incident, two monks said in telephone interviews, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Myanmar's ruling junta faces international criticism for its violent crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations last month. Thousands were arrested, and the government acknowledges 10 deaths among the protesters, though critics say the real number might be closer to 200.

The junta has long been accused of other abuses, including brutal treatment of ethnic minority villagers caught up in counterinsurgency campaigns, and the use of forced labor in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

The report "Sold to Be Soldiers: The Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers in Burma" also charged that ethnic guerrilla groups in Myanmar use child soldiers, though on a much smaller scale than the government. Ethnic minorities along the country's borders have been fighting for autonomy for decades.

Human Rights Watch said recruiters routinely falsify enlistment records to list children as 18, the minimum legal age for service. It cited the case of a boy who said he was forcibly recruited at age 11, though he was only 4 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed less than 70 pounds.

According to the report, child soldiers are typically given 18 weeks of military training and some are then sent to combat zones.

"Child soldiers are sometimes forced to participate in human rights abuses, such as burning villages and using civilians for forced labor," said Human Rights Watch. "Those who attempt to escape or desert are beaten, forcibly re-recruited, or imprisoned."

Myanmar's armed forces have had regulations in place since 1973 forbidding the recruitment of minors as well as others forced to enlist against their will, said the Information Ministry's Ye Htut, responding to a summary of the new report.

Enforcement of the regulations was strengthened in 2004 with the establishment of a Committee for the Prevention of Recruiting Underaged Children from Military Recruitment, he wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

"If the authorities find out that a recruit was recruited against his will or he is under 18 years, the responsible personnel will be tried according to the military law," he said.

Between 2004 and August 2007, some 141 minors were dismissed from the military and returned to their parents, and disciplinary action was taken against nearly 30 military personnel for violating recruitment rules, Ye Htut added.

Human Rights Watch said the government committee has failed to effectively address the problem, and devoted most of its efforts to denouncing outside reports of child recruitment.

The report agreed with U.N. assessments that ethnic guerrilla armies, both allied with and against the government, also use child soldiers, though several have taken measures to curb the practice.

The Karen National Union, whose military arm, the Karen National Liberation Army, was cited by Human Rights Watch for improving its record, said it punishes officers who use child soldiers


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: goatfell
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 08:50 AM

yes we should


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 09:36 PM

I have heard nothing back from my government. Bastards.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 09:34 PM

Washington Post...

More Than Talk for Burma
Where's the 'intensification' to aid a courageous people?
Friday, October 12, 2007; Page A16


ONE WEEK AGO the U.N. Security Council met to consider a bloody crackdown by Burma's dictatorship against Buddhist monks and others who had been peacefully protesting in favor of democracy. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the use of force "abhorrent and unacceptable" and urged Burma's rulers to "take bold actions towards democratization and respect for human rights." Mr. Ban's special envoy to the country, having returned from a visit to the Southeast Asian nation, relayed "continuing and disturbing reports of abuses . . . including raids on private homes, beatings, arbitrary arrests and disappearances." He said he had found "accelerating impoverishment" in Burma (also known as Myanmar) and "deep and widespread discontent." He promised an "intensification" of diplomatic efforts.

Since then, we haven't seen much in the way of intensification. The Security Council did issue a unanimous statement yesterday that "strongly deplores" the regime's violence. But it's still not known how many monks and others have been killed and how many arrested; the regime claimed to have released more than 2,000, without disclosing how many had been swept up in the first place. There's been talk of sanctions, of an arms embargo, of the need for united action, of sending the special envoy back -- but so far talk is all it's been. First lady Laura Bush has spoken out, but we haven't heard much from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Burma's dictator, Than Shwe, named an underling to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, who -- by virtue of a landslide victory in a 1990 election that the regime refused to honor -- is Burma's rightful leader. But no meeting has taken place.

The strangest statement at that U.N. meeting a week ago came from China's ambassador, who noted with satisfaction that the situation in Burma was "calming down thanks to the joint efforts of all parties." If by "joint efforts" he meant the decision by one side to shoot and bludgeon, and by the other to submit to shooting and bludgeoning, that was true. But even stranger, perhaps, has been the silence emanating from India, the world's largest democracy and the birthplace of Buddhism. As long as India and Southeast Asian democracies put commercial interests ahead of principle, progress will be slow.

The Nobel Peace Prize is due to be announced today, 16 years after Aung San Suu Kyi herself was the recipient. In all those years, spent mostly under house arrest, she has remained true to the ideals of democracy, reconciliation and nonviolence. Perhaps, in the midst of celebrating this year's winner, global leaders will pause to think about whether they could do a bit more to support her and her unspeakably courageous comrades.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 02:31 PM

UN Envoy Optimistic After Myanmar Talks
Friday, October 05, 2007 1:17:43 PM
By EDITH M. LEDERER

The U.N. envoy to Myanmar said Friday the government's willingness to talk with the detained pro-democracy leader marked a "historic opportunity" but called for the release of all political prisoners after a deadly crackdown on protesters.

Ibrahim Gambari, who returned earlier this week from the Southeast Asian nation and addressed the U.N. Security Council, said he was encouraged that Myanmar's military ruler, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, is prepared to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi under certain conditions -- including giving up calls for international sanctions against the country.

Suu Kyi has been detained for nearly 12 of the last 18 years and is currently under house arrest, although the government allowed her two brief meetings with Gambari during his four-day visit.

"The sooner such a meeting can take place, the better, as it is a first and necessary step to overcome the high level of mistrust between them," he said.

A dozen red-robed monks sat in the front row of the visitors gallery listening intently.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent Gambari to the Southeast Asian nation after troops quelled mass pro-democracy protests with gunfire last week. The government said 10 people were killed, but dissident groups put the death toll at up to 200 and say 6,000 people were detained, including thousands of monks. The government is continuing to round up suspected activists.

"I must reiterate that the use of force against peaceful demonstrators is abhorrent and unacceptable," Ban said.

The United States threatened to introduce a resolution seeking sanctions, including an arms embargo, if Myanmar fails to move quickly toward reconciliation and release thousands of detainees. But China and Russia remain opposed to council action, saying the situation in Myanmar is an internal affair that doesn't threaten international peace and security.

"Pressure would not serve any purpose and would only lead to confrontation," said China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya. "If the situation in Myanmar takes a worse turn because of external intervention it will be the people of the country who will bear the brunt."

Myanmar's U.N. ambassador, Kyaw Tint Swe, also urged against Security Council action, saying his country was committed to forging ahead with national reconciliation. "Patience, time and space is needed," he said.

"Despite the recent tragic events, the situation in Myanmar is not, and I repeat not, a threat to either regional or international peace and security," the ambassador said. "No Security Council action is warranted."

Gambari told the council that "another necessary step for genuine national dialogue to take place is the release of all political detainees, particularly the sick and the elderly."

Gambari's comments came shortly after Ban spoke before the council, urging Myanmar's military rulers to "take bold actions towards democratization and respect for human rights."

While Gambari thanked the Myanmar government for its cooperation during his visit, he said that despite repeated requests he was not able to meet with members of Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, and representatives of the monks and students who led the last major anti-government protests in 1988.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 02:27 PM

Myanmar hunts for 4 monk protest leaders

1 hour, 20 minutes ago


YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar said Friday it had detained hundreds of Buddhist monks during last week's bloody crackdown of pro-democracy protests, and that security forces were searching for four of the monks who led the demonstrations.

Of more than 500 monks who were detained, 109 are still being questioned, the government said on state-run television.

The junta on Sept. 26-27 crushed the demonstrations that began in mid-August, inspired largely by thousands of monks, who are revered in Myanmar, marching in the streets. The government says 10 people were killed in the crackdown but dissident groups put the death toll at more than 200.

A government official met senior monks in Yangon on Friday and asked them to "expose four monks who are at large, who took the leading role in the protest," the announcement said. The names of the four were given to senior clergy, it added.

The announcement, which emphasized the official's visit to senior monks, was apparently meant to show that the ruling generals still have high regard for the Buddhist clergy despite the crackdown that targeted the monks.

In a rare meeting, acting U.S. Ambassador Shari Villarosa, a vocal critic of the crackdown, told Deputy Foreign Minister Maung Myint that Myanmar must end its violent suppression of peaceful demonstrators.

"It was not a terribly edifying meeting," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington. "What she heard in private was not very different than what we hear from the government in public."

Also Friday, a U.N. envoy who met with Myanmar's military ruler earlier this week said he was "cautiously encouraged" that Senior Gen. Than Shwe is prepared to hold talks with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi under certain conditions.

State media said the government official told the senior monks that many junior monks and civilians took part in the protests at the instigation of "a political party, members of the 88 Generation Students and dissidents."

It did not name the political party, but it referred to Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. The 88 Generation Students is a dissident group, which takes its name from the last pro-democracy movement in 1988 that was crushed by the ruling generals. At least 3,000 people are believed to have been killed in that crackdown.

The junta statement said security forces "systematically controlled" the latest protests, and searched 18 monasteries.

Authorities initially detained 513 monks, one novice, 167 men and 30 women lay disciples, but most were released, state media said. It said "109 monks and nine men are still being questioned."

On Thursday, state media has said nearly 2,100 people were detained in the crackdown, with almost 700 released. Dissident groups say about 6,000 people were detained, including thousands of monks.

The official also told the monks that nonreligious material was seized from the monastery, including pornographic videos, literature belonging to Suu Kyi's party, headbands printed with a Nazi swastika or a U.S. flag.

The official denied foreign media reports that monks were killed and injured in the crackdown, the statement said.

It said the body found floating in Pazundaung Creek in eastern Yangon last week was not that of a monk, as reported by a dissident group, but of a man "with a piece of saffron robe tied round the neck."

It blamed "internal and external destructive elements of inciting the monks who could tarnish the honor of the religion."

State media reported that Than Shwe was willing to talk with Suu Kyi if she stops calling for international sanctions. He also insisted that Suu Kyi stop urging her countrymen to confront the military regime.

Suu Kyi "does not have confrontational attitude, nor does she encourage sanctions," said Thein Lwin, a spokesman for her National League for Democracy party. Suu Kyi, however, has in various statements to the media supported economic sanctions, saying they are effective politically.

Addressing the U.N. Security Council on his four-day trip to Myanmar following the crackdown, U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari said Than Shwe's meeting with the Nobel laureate should occur as soon as possible. "This is an hour of historic opportunity for Myanmar," he said.

"This is a potentially welcome development which calls for maximum flexibility on all sides," Gambari said in New York.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962. The current junta came to power after routing the 1988 pro-democracy uprising. Suu Kyi's party won elections in 1990 but the junta refused to accept the results.

Suu Kyi has spent nearly 12 of the last 18 years under house arrest and was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her democracy campaign.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a Thailand-based dissident group, said more than 250 protests have been taken place in Myanmar since Aug. 19.

The diplomatic moves by the military leaders appeared aimed at staving off economic sanctions while also pleasing giant neighbor China, which worries the unrest could cause problems for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Many governments have urged stern U.N. Security Council action against Myanmar, but China and Russia have ruled out any council action, saying the crisis does not threaten international peace and security.

"No international imposed solution can help the situation," China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Gunagya said Thursday.

Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union — the U.N. telecoms agency — said the government's decision to block Internet access violated its citizens' right to communicate.

Secure access to the Internet is a basic human freedom that "needs to be preserved, no matter what," Toure said.

Life in Yangon was slowly returning to normal but security remained tight in downtown areas where protests were crushed last week. A half-dozen military trucks were stationed near the Sule Pagoda, a flash point of the unrest.

The typically busy area around the city's famed Shwedagon Pagoda was eerily quiet, with residents avoiding the area outside the temple where monks were beaten by troops.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 02:12 PM

'General' Than Shwe: He needs an Excedrin headache . . . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 02:06 PM

Today's Washington Post:

Burma's Bloody Silence

While the regime crushes popular protests, the U.N. Security Council prepares to . . . listen to a report.
Friday, October 5, 2007; Page A20


THE SITUATION in Burma seems to be returning to normal. That is to say, the harsh repression that has prevailed since military rule began in 1962 has been restored, after a brief wave of protests that had offered the first hope for change since the crushing of a similar uprising in 1988 and the subsequent cancellation of a 1990 election won by the democratic opposition. Troops wielding guns, clubs and tear gas have cleared the streets of Rangoon and other cities of the courageous Buddhist monks and ordinary citizens who had taken them over for the past several weeks, chanting a simple, modest demand: "dialogue."

But Burma's generals do not talk with their people. They prefer to subdue them, or occasionally to shout threats, such as the chilling words blasted from sound trucks that circulated in Rangoon on Wednesday night: "We have photographs. We are going to make arrests." This Orwellian pronouncement was apparently aimed at people who had tried to block a military raid on a pagoda earlier in the week. At last count, media reports said 2,100 people had been arrested, two-thirds of whom were still in custody, and the government acknowledged 10 deaths -- though both figures are probably considerably understated.

Burma's strongman, Gen. Than Shwe, finished crushing the "Saffron Revolution" while a United Nations envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, was cooling his heels for three days, waiting for a dialogue of his own with the general. After he finally consented to listen to Mr. Gambari's expressions of deep concern, Gen. Shwe made an offer to speak with Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader, but only if she gives up her "confrontational" position first. Such are the fruits of the international community's engagement with the regime so far.

There will be more talk at the U.N. Security Council today as Mr. Gambari delivers his report, four unhurried days after leaving Rangoon. But it's unlikely that the council will agree on sanctions or even an unambiguous condemnation of the regime; for that, thank veto-wielding China, Burma's chief economic and political patron. The response of the Bush administration and European countries has been relatively tough: The U.S. Embassy has been authorized to provide honest reports on the crackdown to the outside world, and Europe is working on a tightening of its visa restrictions and other sanctions against the junta.

The United States and Europe say they want to engage China on the issue, but it remains to be seen whether the West is willing to provoke a serious fight with Beijing. China could be offered a choice between ending its defense of the regime on the Security Council and spoiling its own intended debut as an emerging superpower at the 2008 Olympics. That would be appropriate enough: After all, shouldn't the world reject a would-be superpower that insists on shielding the world's most criminal regimes from U.N. sanction? In the absence of such an initiative, the United States, Britain and other governments that claim to care deeply about Burma will be reduced to listening to reports from Mr. Gambari.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 07:05 AM

"One of the main problems is that there is a group which Aung San Sun Kyi has called the regime's Hitler Youth."

                      Maybe that's the root of the struggle, the adminstration competing with the Monks for the hearts and minds of the young people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 01:05 AM

Went to the beach last weekend. So I read a book about Burma--British colony to now (2002)--by a reporter who has done extensive travel in Burma--including a lot of aspects the current regime doesn't want publicized. (What else are you supposed to do at the beach?)

Fascinating. And the Chinese connection is truly amazing. According to this author (in 2002) Burma provides gems, teak and food--and now meth and heroin--to China. And China in return provides--almost everything.   If you think the West imports too many Chinese goods, it's nothing compared to the stranglehold China has on Burma.

And the Burmese regime is truly loathsome. Among other things, they have deep connections to illegal drugs. Lin Mingxian, former Burmese Communist (Chinese extraction) now (2002) has control of an opium-rich wilderness bordering China, Laos and Thailand. In return for keeping the peace and "contributions" to high Burmese officials, Lin has full autonomy in the Mongla region--including business concessions in gold, timber, gems-and tacit permission to trade in opium. Also transshipment of laborers from China through Thailand.

And he is one of many.

The warlords are also branching out into meth. In 1999 a pill cost less than 10 cents to make. At the Thai border, worth 70 cents. In Bangkok up to $3.00.

The author says narcotics is Burma's only growth industry.

One of the main problems is that there is a group which Aung San Sun Kyi has called the regime's Hitler Youth. Indeed, at a rally of a "nationalist organization" called the "Union Solidarity Development Association", a Burmese general urged the crowd to kill Aung. And soon after her car was stoned by a mob in a well-planned attack. Joining the USDA (not quite the same as in the US) is compulsory for government officials, and access to education, housing, health care is often dependent on membership. Aung's group is often denied medical care.

There's a LOT more, but it's late.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 09:49 PM

Myanmar bodies 'were a warning'

Story Highlights
International aid worker describes the bloody crackdown in Myanmar

Woman saw bodies lying in the street in front of a pagoda dedicated to peace

Bodies may have been there as a warning, she said.

(CNN) -- An international aid worker who witnessed the bloody crackdown on weekend pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar told CNN she saw bodies lying in the street in front of a pagoda dedicated to world peace, possibly as a warning from the government's security forces.

"There was a body lying on the road, there was another body slumped over the back of the truck," said the woman, who did not want to be identified for security reasons.

"There were crowds gathered approximately 400 meters away but they were not coming closer to help out. And it just looked like (the bodies) had been left there for people to witness, for people to see what they were capable of."

She said the bodies were near Yangon's Kaba Aye pagoda, a gold-domed Buddhist shrine. Kaba Aye means world peace in Burmese.

Saturday's demonstration was a complete turnaround from demonstrations in previous days which were largely peaceful, she said.

She said "there were no military around" during protests she witnessed on Sept. 24.

Either way, the aid worker said the demonstrations are a cry for help by the Burmese, who she said "are not people who speak out."

"I think people need to appreciate the level of anger that the Burmese people would get to to even demonstrate," she said. "For a demonstration of the size of which went on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, it's quite remarkable.

"And then for the sort of cat-and-mouse skirmishes that went on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday -- these are people who just don't speak and they are speaking now."

She said the people she has spoken to are hoping the demonstrations spark international action, not just talk.

"They want to see force, they want to see people coming into their country to help them, peacekeepers," she said. "They're expecting the (United Nations), they're expecting action.

"They say this is their second time around and they need help this time," she said, referring to the bloody demonstrations in 1988 during which the army opened fire into masses of protesters, killing more than 3,000.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 07:38 PM

don't forget the c'noli

Clemenza in The Godfather....?


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 06:40 PM

"Simoly: The use of 'like' or 'as' in direct comparisons."

And I always thought that was a smiley.

LOL
Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 05:37 PM

Simoly: The use of 'like' or 'as' in direct comparisons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 05:05 PM

By the way, I think a simoly is a kind of Italian dessert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 04:48 PM

You may be right. But if these generals are bastards - what makes you think the people that they rule are going to be any different?.

Its comparatively easy to lift the lid suppressing these situations. But I tend to think we should know a lot more about the people we are being asked to finance and put our young men's lives on the line for. Have they done so much as a learned TV interview.

Look at all the half assed regimes we have propped up from Madame Nhu to Robert Mugabe. The time to get it right is NOW, not down the road apiece.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 04:27 PM

Yeah, Beijing, I know. Think I might need a new keyboard.

DT


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 04:26 PM

Dammit, now some fool pedant will want to know what simoly means.

It means I hit the o instead of the bloody p,....O.K.?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 04:23 PM

I'm no advocate of military intervention from outside WLD, but I think the situation here speaks for itself.

Nineteen years ago these bastards killed thousands of peaceful protesters, and the outside world knew little and did less about it.

This time comparatively few were killed, largely due to their actions being under scrutiny by the whole world.

It's my opinion that this lot are very lucky Burma is predominantly Buddhist, or there would long since have been a bloody revolution. As I said above, Saffron robed priests are simoly target practise for this government, and the rest of the world should apply every non military sanction at their disposal including a complete boycott of the Bijing Olympics if China makes no move to intercede.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 03:28 PM

Washington Post:

To: The World
From: Burma

By Hanna Ingber Win
Monday, October 1, 2007; 7:10 PM

They tried to erase Burma from the Internet last week. In an attempt to weaken the opposition and shield itself from international opprobrium, the military junta that runs the country tried to cut off access to the Web.

It did not succeed. Already, damning e-mail, photographs, video clips and instant messages had made their way around the world. And, although new reports and images slowed after the Internet crackdown Friday, they didn't stop. They continue to make their way onto news sites -- such as expat-run Irrawaddy magazine, Mizzima News and the Democratic Voice of Burma -- and blogs -- including Ko Htike's Prosaic Collection, Burmese Bloggers Without Borders and Burma-Myanmar Genocide 2007.

These photographs, depicting protests in downtown Rangoon, arrived in my inbox Thursday from an American living in Burma. In one, people are running from soldiers who have started shooting at the crowd. They are running along Sule Pagoda Road, the street where I lived in 2003 while working for the weekly Myanmar Times.

In a separate e-mail, a friend in Rangoon told me that she and many others have stored up staples like rice, onions and cooking oil. She said she stays at home all day, glued to the radio (which the junta hasn't blocked). And she worried that, if she left her apartment, she could get caught in the crossfire. She could also be jailed or executed if caught sharing information with outsiders. Still, the e-mails come.

When I lived in Burma, the junta controlled the news so completely that even weather reports were censored. A terrible storm struck western Burma when I was living in Rangoon, but I learned of it from my aunt in Westchester, New York. Apparently the generals who then ran the country, and still do, are superstitious. They believe natural disasters are omens of change. Perhaps they also want to maintain the idea that Burma is a peaceful place, with no disruptions.

That myth was shattered last week, and continues to erode with each new image and report that finds its way to the Web.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 12:10 PM

wld - Yeah, I agree. Tito in Yugoslavia was the same way. Once he went away things came unglued pretty quickly. It's amazing that the US and the Brits didn't seem to consider this, at least in the public discussion.

                It wouldn't take much to blow the lid off of Burma as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 11:55 AM

Well as with the late unlamented Saddam Hussein, and The Shah of Persia before him - perhaps the reason the guys act nasty is beacause they are sitting on a load of disparate elements whose presence isn't immediately obvious, because they are being successfully kept quiet.

It would be extremely dumb to pretend that wasn't a possibility - having experienced Iraq.


Anyway I feel a little more deliberation and fact finding wouldn't harm the situation - rather than going in there with guns blazing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 11:46 AM

Sorry! The devil would have made me do it, if there had been one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: The Villan
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 11:14 AM

Agreed. Thats the one critiscm I have about Mudcat. The inability to edit your post afterwards.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 11:11 AM

If folks' spelling or typos become the subject of derision, we are going to be spending lotsa time off topic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 11:33 PM

"in spite of winning the elaction."


             How do you win an elaction, anyway?


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 07:52 PM

"Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: weelittledrummer - PM
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 10:58 AM

No, we filled our quote of people we can upset a while back.

Anyway what if we spend a fortune and get our young people killed and it turns out they never wanted democracy - they just want to piss about killing each other.

Different this time...?

It always is."

This one may be more unusual than you think WLD, as only one side of the argument is getting shot dead.

No Al Qaeda insurgents here, just a bunch of saffron coloured rifle targets, who are passively protesting that they didn't get the government they voted for, in spite of winning the elaction.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: DougR
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 01:03 PM

Guest Mark Alley: (Your original post) Right. Spoken like a true patriot circa 1939.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 11:40 AM

Piost under your Mudcat name or fu#k off.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 11:38 AM

So you want Bush to drop bombs on them, Peace?


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 11:15 AM

"Anyway what if we spend a fortune and get our young people killed and it turns out they never wanted democracy - they just want to piss about killing each other."

They have already had the vote on that. They want democracy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 11:07 AM

No different than Cambodia, Darfur, Somalia--this could be a long list.

It is perhaps time to think about getting rid of the UN as it stands today. Worthless tw#ts for the most part, impotent when it matters and more concerned with how they 'look' than what they do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 10:58 AM

No, we filled our quote of people we can upset a while back.

Anyway what if we spend a fortune and get our young people killed and it turns out they never wanted democracy - they just want to piss about killing each other.

Different this time...?

It always is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 10:35 AM

Saying 'please' didn't help with Chile or Argentina. I don't think it would help with Burma, but it's lots like chicken soup: couldn't hurt.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 08:14 PM

I'd like to know more about the philosophy of the ruling junta.

This military group has ignored a landslide election in which the opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi - 'The Lady', as she's known - was handed power by the people.

I must assume that the military think they have better ideas for the country, but I haven't seen any reports anywhere of what these ideas are.

By the way, for those wishing to take some action, if you already know more than I (not hard!) about Burma and its rulers, may I suggest that you write gentle and courteous personal letters to those rulers quoting apposite Burmese literature that may be attractive to these specific people and making your point.

I remember meeting people on both sides of a big letter campaign. On one side, people said to me "We've got thousands of people to fill out this form letter and send it in to the government in protest." On the other, a civil servant showed me bundles of these letters and said "Oh, they're all identical, they're just a form; we just threw them all out."

While all the individuals had believed strongly in what was written in the letter, the fact that it was a formula meant the people it was addressed to paid no attention. If each of those people had written a polite, kind letter individually, they would have been listened to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 06:28 PM

It's a start, anyway.

"Dear Mr. Murdoch:

On behalf of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, I would like to thank
you for your e-mail, in which you raised an issue which falls within
the portfolio of the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign
Affairs. The Prime Minister always appreciates receiving mail on subjects
of importance to Canadians.

Please be assured that the statements you made have been carefully
reviewed. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your e-mail to Minister
Bernier so that he too may be made aware of your comments. I am certain
that the Minister will give your views every consideration. For more
information on the Government's initiatives, you may wish to visit the
Prime Minister's Web site, at www.pm.gc.ca.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 05:49 PM

Groups struggle to tally Myanmar's dead

By MICHAEL CASEY, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 49 minutes ago



BANGKOK, Thailand - One hundred shot dead outside a Myanmar school. Activists burned alive at government crematoriums. A Buddhist monk floating face down in a river.

After last week's brutal crackdown by the military, horror stories are filling Myanmar blogs and dissident sites. But the tight security of the repressive regime makes it impossible to verify just how many people are dead, detained or missing.

"There are huge difficulties. It's a closed police state," said David Mathieson, a consultant with Human Rights Watch in Thailand. "Many of the witnesses have been arrested and are being held in areas we don't have access to. Other eyewitness are too afraid."

Authorities have acknowledged that government troops shot dead nine demonstrators and a Japanese cameraman in Yangon. But witness accounts range from several dozen deaths to as many as 200.

"We do believe the death toll is higher than acknowledged by the government," Shari Villarosa, the top U.S. diplomat in Myanmar, told The Associated Press Monday. "We are doing our best to get more precise, more detailed information, not only in terms of deaths but also arrests."

Villarosa said her staff had visited up to 15 monasteries around Yangon and every single one was empty. She put the number of arrested demonstrators — monks and civilians — in the thousands.

"I know the monks are not in their monasteries," she said. "Where are they? How many are dead? How many are arrested?"

She said the true death toll may never be known in a Buddhist country where bodies are cremated.

"We're not going to find graves like they did in Yugoslavia ... We have seen few dead bodies. The bodies are removed promptly. We don't know where they are being taken," Villarosa said.

Dissident groups have been collecting accounts from witnesses and the families of victims, and investigating reports of dead bodies turning up at hospitals and cemeteries in and around Yangon.

The U.S. Campaign For Burma, a Washington-based pro-democracy group, says more than 100 people were killed in downtown Yangon after truckloads of government troops fired automatic weapons last Thursday at thousands of demonstrators. It also claims that 100 students and parents were killed the same day at a high school in Tamwe, in northeastern Yangon, after troops shot at them as school let out.

The Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based dissident news organization, has received reports of soldiers burning protesters alive at the Yae Way cemetery crematorium on the outskirts of Yangon. The group also shot video Sunday of a dead monk, badly beaten and floating face down in a Yangon river.

The Democratic Voice of Burma has put the death toll at 138, based on a list compiled by the 88 Student Generation, a pro-democracy group operating in Myanmar.

"This 138 figure is quite credible because it's based on names of victims," Aye Chan Naing, the chief editor, told the AP Monday. "I also think the figure is accurate because of the pictures coming from inside Burma. The way they were shooting into the crowds with machine guns means dozens of people could have died."

The Democratic Voice of Burma also estimates that about 6,000 demonstrators — including at least 1,400 monks from seven now-empty monasteries — are being held at makeshift detention centers set up at universities, old factories and a race track in Yangon. There are already an estimated 1,100 political prisoners languishing in Myanmar's jails.

The military junta did not respond to AP requests for comment Monday. It is impossible to independently verify the death toll because Myanmar is virtually off-limits to journalists.

Lars Bromley of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington said his agency has ordered up satellite images of four Myanmar cities, including Yangon, since the crackdown. He said satellite imagery — along with clear skies and exact locations from witnesses — could help locate massacre sites, and also give some sense of the military presence around cities and monasteries.

"If there are several suspected burial sites, we could help narrow it down or identify the site," said Bromley, who last week uncovered evidence that Myanmar's military destroyed border villages and forcibly relocated ethnic minorities in eastern Myanmar last year. "But we need a little information to go on."

Most analysts said the fallout from the protests was not surprising, given the regime's history of brutality. It may be impossible to ever verify how many people are dead or detained.

"We cannot say exactly and we are unlikely to know for sure," Win Hlaing of the dissident group National League for Democracy-Liberated Area said of the death toll. "(But) the junta never declares the real number of people killed."

Myanmar's military also opened fire on the country's 1988 democratic uprising. Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 3,000 protesters were killed, but other reports cite up to 10,000. The media, diplomats and activists have been denied access to documents that could shed light on the shootings.

And so, to this day, the exact death toll remains shrouded in secrecy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 03:07 PM

U.N. talks with Myanmar's junta leader delayed

Story Highlights
Talks between U.N. envoy and Myanmar's junta leader are delayed

Envoy Ibrahim Gambari sees opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, U.N. says

Security forces using increasing force to crack down on pro-democracy groups

Japan, Myanmar's top aid donor, reportedly considering sanctions in protest
   
(CNN) -- Talks between U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari and Myanmar's secretive military leader were stalled for another day on Monday.

The Associated Press, citing diplomats, said Gambari was taken on a government-sponsored trip to attend a seminar in the far northern Shan state on EU relations with Southeast Asia, instead of meeting with junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe.

Gambari had planned to tell him, "about the international outrage over what has happened and will urge him to talk with various people and try to resolve the problems peacefully," Shari Villarosa, chargé d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, told CNN on Sunday.

Earlier, the United Nations said it was uncertain as to when any meeting with Shwe might take place.

Troops removed roadblocks on Monday and moved into less conspicuous posts, according to The Associated Press.

"It's outwardly quite normal at the moment. The traffic seems to be flowing; there's a lot of military tucked away in less visible locations," British Ambassador Mark Canning told the AP. "They've obviously for the moment squeezed things off the streets."

Myanmar's ruling military junta imposed heavy security restrictions in the former capital last week as pro-democracy demonstrations began to attract tens of thousands of protesters.

Acting to crush the demonstrations, security guards have used increasing force in recent days, resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people, according to media and opposition reports, which CNN cannot independently confirm.

On Monday, a man, who identified himself as Nick, said he saw about 15 bodies floating in a river in Yangon. He described them as both men and women, monks and civilians.

In other developments, Myanmar soldiers have surrounded the campus of a technology school in Yangon, detaining about 2,000 people, who were staging a hunger strike to protest the crackdown on demonstrators, a well-known source with the pro-democracy movement told CNN. Those involved in the strike, which started Friday, include students, nuns and monks, the source said.

Buddhist monks initiated the demonstrations that began in August to protest a rise in gasoline prices.

Security forces have restricted the movement of the monks and locked most of the monasteries, effectively barring the Buddhist clergy from marching, said the opposition Web site Mizzima News. CNN cannot independently confirm that report.

Gambari met with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday in an effort to quell tensions between the military leaders and protesters, the United Nations said.

The meeting took place in Yangon for about an hour. No other details were released.

It was a rare visit as Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, has been barred from meeting with foreigners in the past. She has been detained for various periods since 1989 after her National League for Democracy won the country's first free multiparty elections in 30 years but the military junta refused to hand over power.

She won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in restoring democracy in Myanmar, also known as Burma. See a timeline of events in Myanmar »

Gambari arrived Saturday in Myanmar following a week of protests by citizens and Buddhist monks that were met with increasing force at the hands of government security guards.

Once in Myanmar, Gambari was taken to the isolated bunkerlike capital, Naypyidaw, for talks with senior government officials in hopes of finding a peaceful resolution to the ongoing clashes. See more about the nation of Myanmar »

Japan, Myanmar's largest aid donor, is considering sanctions or other actions to protest the crackdown, chief Cabinet spokesman Nobutaka Machimura said Monday, according to the AP. A Japanese journalist died in the violence.

Pope Benedict XVI offered support to the citizens of Myanmar, the AP reported. About 1 percent of the population are Catholics, according to the AP.

"I want to express my spiritual closeness to the dear population in this moment of the very painful trial it is going through," the pontiff said, according to the AP.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Emma B
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 02:13 PM

Extravagent weddings and forced labour - where the oil companies money goes


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 01:56 PM

Washington Post:

What We Owe the Burmese

By Fred Hiatt
Monday, October 1, 2007; Page A19

An upheaval like the pro-democracy uprising taking place in Burma over the past month tends to shake up certainties that had seemed self-evident. Certainties such as the primacy of justice. Or the sanctity of the Olympic Games.

Despite an academic industry devoted to the subject, no one can predict when an oppressed people will find that precise combination of hopelessness and hope, impatience and solidarity, and recklessness and anger that leads it to rebel. Nor can anyone answer the most important question facing Burma now: When will the boys and men who prop up a corrupt regime with their guns and prison cells decide that they have had enough -- that they no longer want to shoot unarmed Buddhist monks or round up young girls for possession of cellphones with cameras?

But this much is sure: The first process is rare and precious enough, and the second so difficult to initiate, that those on the outside must do whatever they can to support and encourage both. We're a long way from having fulfilled that obligation.

Over the past decade, human rights advocates have united behind the notion of accountability for dictators and war criminals. They persuaded most of the world's nations to sign on to the International Criminal Court. The theory is no mercy, no compromise, no temporizing.

No one deserves trial more than Burma's Gen. Than Shwe and his cronies. They have looted their country's natural wealth and turned its army into a monster that rapes and press-gangs its compatriots. More than 1.5 million people have been routed from their villages, often with bayonets having been thrust through their rice pots to ensure that they go hungry. Now the regime is rounding up nonviolent protesters in the most violent way, and -- if past practice is any indicator -- torturing many of them in some of the world's bleakest prisons.

Yet if amnesty for these despicable men could buy release for their country -- if we could trade their safe passage to China and a guarantee of undisturbed retirement for a chance to free 2,000 or more political prisoners, unshackle democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and help Burma's 50 million people onto a path to self-governance, would we reject such a deal? If we could split the regime by promising leniency to the generals who refuse to take part in the crackdown, would we be too pure to do so?

I know the arguments against such compromises, and they are powerful: the difficulty of achieving national reconciliation without national justice; the value of warning future dictators that they will pay for future crimes; the gall of monsters going free. And still, given the unbearable alternative of watching a people be crushed for the second time in two decades, I would do anything to guide those monsters to pleasant seaside villas.


And here's something else I would do: Tell China that, as far as the United States is concerned, it can have its Olympic Games or it can have its regime in Burma. It can't have both.

Here, too, I understand the arguments against: China's rulers are gradually becoming more responsible in the world; to threaten their Games would only get their backs up. The Games themselves offer a chance to enhance international understanding; if we let world affairs interfere, there will always -- every two years -- be some cause. The athletes have trained for years; they deserve their chance.

And yet: Hundreds of thousands of Burmese have risked everything -- their homes, their families, their lives -- to be free. They have done so with nothing on their side but courage, faith and the hope that the world might stand with them. And they still have a chance to succeed.

Whether they do depends mostly on decisions made inside Burma. But people and countries outside can have some effect. Burma's neighbors in Southeast Asia could do more. The world's largest democracy, India, could do far more. China could do most of all.

China's Communist rulers have reasons not to help Burma's democrats. They enjoy privileged access to Burma's timber and other resources, for one. Even more fundamentally, dictators will shudder when they see another illegitimate regime threatened by people power.

What could push them the other way? Their desire to be seen as responsible players, maybe. Their desire to have their one-party rule recognized as more sophisticated and legitimate than the paranoid generals of Burma, maybe. And, maybe, their deep desire to host a successful Olympics next summer.

If a threat to those Games -- delivered privately, if that would be most effective, with no loss of face -- could help tip the balance, then let the Games not begin. Some things matter more.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Peace
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 11:36 AM

What, and upset the fu#king Chinese and Russians?


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Amos
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 10:23 AM

"Now comes an unconfirmed report in The Daily Mail in Britain with a staggering claim of mass slaughter. The paper quotes Hla Win, described as a Burmese general who has deserted his post in protest of the regime's harsh tactics.

"Many more people have been killed in recent days than you've heard about," Hla Win said. "The bodies can be counted in several thousand."

Here is some additional detail from General Win, referred to in this passage by his title:

The 42-year-old chief of military intelligence in Rangoon's northern region added: "I decided to desert when I was ordered to raid two monasteries and force several hundred monks onto trucks.
"They were to be killed and their bodies dumped deep inside the jungle. I refused to participate in this."

The general is seeking political asylum in Norway, according to The Norway Post. A Norwegian freelance journalist told The Post that he met with General Win in a jungle hideout near the border with Thailand.

Norway has deep ties to the opposition movement in Myanmar, formerly called Burma, through the Democratic Voice of Burma, which runs a robust news operation out of Oslo. So far, it has posted no English-language reports of Mr. Win's reported defection, but it referred to him in an earlier piece as a "local commander" in Yangon."



Mebbe we can spare some Americans from Iraq to shift to jungle mode and enforce a regime change in Burma? There's no end of fun, if you know how to play. (Sarcasm).


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Stu
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 08:35 AM

"What I've seen in other parts of the world--Iran is a good example--when represive governments are overthrown by religious movements, they usually end up being more represive than the government they replaced."

You're correct in one sense, but I think you misunderstand the motivation of the monks. Buddhist regimes are not oppressive as the very nature of buddhism is non-violent and compassionate. This is about the monks opening the way for democracy and the rule of law, not military rule and exploitation by it's near and even more oppressive neighbour.


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Subject: RE: BS: Should we care about Burmese?
From: Emma B
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 08:09 AM

Just as important take away the massive finance that is the lifeblood of the military rule by putting pressure on the large oil companies.

Downloadable protest letters and petitions to Unocal and Texaco here
Free Burma : No Petrodollars for SLORC


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