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Archive for July 6th, 2008

ျပဳျပင္ေျပာင္းလဲေရးမ်ား လိုအပ္ေနသည္ (အပိုင္း ၂)

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 6, 2008 at 2:21 pm

ျပဳျပင္ေျပာင္းလဲေရးမ်ား လိုအပ္ေနသည္ (အပိုင္း ၁)

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 6, 2008 at 4:21 am

World focus on Burma (6 July 2008)

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Burma fair to muddling in wake of savage blow

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia –

BOGALAY, Burma: Two months after a cyclone savaged the fertile Irrawaddy Delta, in Burma’s south-west, the bones of drowned victims still clutter the muddy …

Burmese junta says the 1990 NLD victory no longer legal

Radio Australia, Australia –

Burma’s ruling junta says the victory by democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in 1990 elections is “no longer legal. The official New Light of Myanmar …

Bush: Skipping Olympics Would Be An Insult

CBS News, NY –

Mr. Bush also expressed deep concern about Myanmar, or Burma, faulting the country’s military regime for its “unwarranted” limited response to Cyclone …

G8 urged to speak out against human rights violations worldwide

Earthtimes (press release), UK –

… a summit meeting in Toyako, Japan, HRN specified for immediate attention the situations in Sudan’s Darfur region, Zimbabwe, Tibet and Myanmar (Burma). …

UGs apprehended all over

E-Pao.net, India –

On preliminary interrogation, Naoba disclosed that he joined KYKL and underwent training at Burma (Myanmar). Based on further interrogation, …

Which are the world’s most corrupt countries?

CTV.ca, Canada –

Myanmar, also known as Burma, probably wins the prize for worst public relations of the year. Last fall, the military-led government cracked down on …

Burma: Waiting for Suu Kyi

Green Left Weekly, Australia –

The last time I saw Aung San Suu Kyi, general secretary of Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD), was in 1996. The last time I saw Aung San Suu Kyi, …

Myanmar’s Storm Survivors Cobble Together a Meager Future

Hartford Courant, United States –

BOGALAY, Myanmar — – Two months after a cyclone ravaged the fertile Irrawaddy Delta, in Myanmar’s southwest, the bones of drowning victims still clutter the …

Barry Tompkins: What’s real, what’s faux in Burma?

Marin Independent-Journal, CA –

To the world, the old Burma is the new Myanmar. To the Thai people, the old Myanmar is still Burma. “Myanmar is the ancient name of the country,” Toi said. …

Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Fukuda of Japan in …

Business Wire (press release), CA –

We are concerned about enriched uranium, and proliferation, and human rights abuses, ballistic missile programs. I view this process as a multi-step process …

Living in the comfort zone

Times of Malta, Malta –

The country’s other neighbour, Burma, is not expected to offer much refuge. The island of Manhattan alone produces more emissions than Bangladesh. …

Burma chronology

Green Left Weekly, Australia –

2008: Cyclone Nargis brings death to the Irrawaddy delta. The junta restricts outside assistance and continues to wage war on ethnic minorities while …

US should carefully weigh costs of forcible intervention

Online Athens, GA –

The aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which felled as many as 100000 Burmese, has set off a lively discussion of the international community’s “responsibility to …

‘To Be Busy Helps Them Forget’

Washington Post, United States –

BOGALAY, Burma — Two months after a cyclone savaged the fertile Irrawaddy Delta, in Burma’s southwest, the bones of drowning victims still clutter the …

Politics of jalsa/jaloos

The Post, Pakistan –

State violence keeps protestors away in Burma and China but does that mean that there is no resentment against the sitting government? …

The following is a transcript of President Bush’s weekly radio …

FOXNews –

These new citizens come from countries as diverse as Burma, Afghanistan, Norway, and Iraq. These new citizens are proof that there is no American race, …

Bush heads to Japan, economic summit

AFP –

The summit is reportedly expected to yield a new system of “food reserves” to assist hungry nations, and soaring oil prices, the situation in Myanmar, …

Burmese New Year celebrated in Utica

Utica Observer Dispatch, NY –

Myanmar, formerly Burma, sits in a tropical climate. Last year, the event took place at Proctor Park, where about 300 people attended. …

Myanmar junta’s grip firm for now

Kuwait Times, Kuwait –

Steinberg said the junta constantly trumpet achievements in modernizing the isolated and impoverished Southeast Asian nation formerly named Burma. …

Guts and glory

Deccan Herald, India –

“There was plenty of primary-source documentation of Perry’s adventures in North-East India and northwest Burma. For example, there was a massive …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 6, 2008 at 4:14 am

BROWN: Burmese generals surfing the Internet

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

COMMENTARY:

Military trucks are park outside a government building in Yangon, November 8, 2005, waiting to carry away records and other …

With the push of a button, the generals in Burma can instantly access the Internet, thanks to a U.S.-built and U.S.-financed satellite. The generals and their cronies have been doing this for months as the Export-Import Bank of the United States (U.S. Ex-Im Bank) and the U.S. State Department which together made it possible, stand by silently.

In this instance, the U.S. government was apparently more than eager to see a U.S. company, Loral, build and deliver a sophisticated broadband satellite to a Thailand-based telecommunications company known as Thaicom, formerly Shin Satellite.

At first glance, there appears to be nothing wrong here, but scratch the surface and the Thaicom-Burma connection quickly appears. It was well-established and well-known to all parties concerned long before the satellite in question even reached the launch pad in 2005.

Keep in mind that the White House including first lady Laura Bush, and the U.S. Congress have been quite vocal in condemning the government of Burma, officially called Myanmar. In 2007, for example, President Bush extended for another year the national emergency first signed by President Clinton in 1997. Add to the list the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and the executive order signed by President Bush that same year.

So the message to Burma has been clear, while the gap that divides the United States and the government of Thailand when it comes to Burma grows larger. Unlike Thailand, engaging Burma has not been the preference of the American government, and U.S. companies are strictly forbidden from doing any business with the government of Burma, although these rules simply do not apply to businesses in Thailand.

More than six years ago, as the human-rights record of the junta in Burma was steadily deteriorating, American taxpayers quietly provided financial backing for construction of the broadband satellite for Thaicom via $190 million in loan guarantees provided U.S. Ex-Im Bank. The French government stepped up and provided loan guarantees for launch services.

America’s dislike for the junta did not prevent Thaicom’s ties to the government of Burma from strengthening. In 2004, for example, the Ex-Im Bank of Thailand rolled out a massive, multimillion-dollar loan to Burma that helped finance telecommunications equipment for the Burmese generals, including a substantial number of broadband satellite terminals to enable Thaicom’s services to be delivered throughout Burma.

The government of Burma and all the assorted businesses run by Burmese generals no doubt constitute the largest pool of satellite broadband customers for Thaicom in Burma, before and after the cyclone. The fact that former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra created and ran Thaicom’s parent company, Shin Corp., cannot go unmentioned. Shin Corp. is now owned by Temasek Holdings of Singapore, which holds a 41 percent stake in Thaicom and remains its largest shareholder.

Since the satellite itself was launched in 2005, Thaicom has steadily expanded its presence in Burma. And in early 2008, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications and Thaicom signed a new pair of contracts. This was followed by news that the final remaining portion of the above-mentioned 2004 Ex-Im Bank of Thailand telecom loan is to be handed over to the generals in Burma this year as well.

The response of the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Ex-Im Bank while all this has unfolded has been to say absolutely nothing. Apparently, when the government of Burma gains access to U.S.-funded satellite broadband technology, the official U.S. response is to simply look the other way and ignore everything that is happening.

So the generals in Burma and their buddies go on surfing the Internet, casually using a U.S.-built satellite in the process while knowing that what truly represents a dark stain on U.S. policymaking in Southeast Asia will no doubt be ignored altogether.

Peter J. Brown is a Maine-based free-lance writer who writes frequently about satellite industry trends and developments in Asia.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/06/burmese-generals-surfing-the-internet/

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 6, 2008 at 4:08 am