Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Myanmar's junta goes for the kill

By Aussiegirl

Burma a.k.a. Myanmar isn't in the news much, but that hasn't stopped the bad guys from making trouble. By the way, if you've never seen the movie Beyond Rangoon, you should. It's a very moving story that takes place in Burma, with the junta already in power, and the opposition forces trying to oust it. (Here's the Imdb link to the movie.)

Asia Times Online :: Southeast Asia news and business from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam

By Larry Jagan

BANGKOK - Myanmar's military rulers have launched a major new crackdown on the country's main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, fueling widespread speculation that the hardline State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) intends to eliminate its harassed and beleaguered rival completely within the next 12 months.

According to Burmese-language notes from a January meeting between Myanmar's police chief Major-General Khin Yi and top commanders across the country reviewed by Asia Times Online, the national police corps was specifically instructed to undermine the NLD using stealth and intelligence rather than their traditional use of brute force. [....]

In the past, Myanmar's police have been accused of planting drugs, especially heroin, on young activists and students, then arresting them and sentencing them to several years of imprisonment. These tactics are being complemented with a more subtle strategy aimed at crippling the NLD's ability to operate and recruit, according to the recent police meeting notes. [....]

Myanmar-watchers contend that the junta's long-term aim is to marginalize charismatic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest, and move to eliminate her party as part of its so-called "national reconciliation" process. To some degree, the junta has successfully portrayed Suu Kyi, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent approach to political confrontation, as part of the problem because of her unwillingness to compromise in some diplomatic quarters. [....]

That hard-knocks plan was hatched soon after the savage May 2003 attack on Suu Kyi's traveling caravan, where USDA thugs killed scores, if not hundreds, of her supporters. The NLD leader had been traveling in the northern region of the country to reinvigorate her party, and massive crowds had gathered to hear her speak.

Aung Lynn Htut, Myanmar's ambassador to Washington, defected to the US this year. He has since spoken out about Than Shwe's plan to obliterate the NLD by the end of the year. After his defection, the former top SPDC diplomat told opposition scholars based in the United States and the United Kingdom that he had received reliable information that the junta had ordered the "routing" of NLD members and their families. [....]

For the international community, any attempt to de-register and abolish the NLD would be widely condemned, even by the SPDC's erstwhile allies in China and Thailand. The SPDC's recent statements insisting that the NLD and Suu Kyi were irrelevant to the country's political future have gone over like a lead balloon inside the 10-member ASEAN.

More important, among Myanmar's people, judging by the increasingly disfranchised chatter of its population, the battered and bruised NLD remains the country's only legitimate political entity and real hope for democratic change. As the SPDC moves to eliminate the NLD forcibly, the ruling junta could cause itself more problems than it solves.


Post a Comment

<< Home