Clinton_”To a certain extent, these comments crossed taboo lines in international diplomacy. U.S. officials generally do not say their sanctions have failed, or speculate about the future government of another country,

Clinton’s candor raises questions
Secretary of state ends trip by urging China to keep investing in U.S.

By TIM JOHNSON
WASHINGTON POST

Published: Monday, February 23, 2009 at 4:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 23, 2009 at 4:03 a.m.
BEIJING — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s blunt and unadorned style of diplomacy has been evident throughout her maiden voyage the past week in Asia. She questioned the efficacy of sanctions against the repressive junta in Burma, spoke openly about a possible succession crisis in North Korea and admitted that she expected to make little progress on human rights in China.

To a certain extent, these comments crossed taboo lines in international diplomacy. U.S. officials generally do not say their sanctions have failed, or speculate about the future government of another country, or suggest that a carefully watched human rights dialogue is largely a farce. continue
http://www1.pressdemocrat.com/article/20090223/NEWS/902231043?Title=Clinton-s-candor-raises-questions

Junta onlinelies:Burma’s state-run newspaper on Monday said United Nations Human Rights expert Tomas Ojea Quintana’s visit to Burma, had been a success, as it immediately resulted in the release of over 6,000 prisoners across the country.

The article said, during Quintana’s visit, the government had cooperated with him by arranging all the meetings, which he wished to have including Burma’s Chief Justice and Attorney General in Naypyitaw.
Quintana, who for the second time visited Burma from February 14–19, visited Karen state in eastern Burma and met Karen splinter groups, including the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).(means They killers for Junta)

However, he did not meet the main Karen rebel group – Karen National Union – which has waged the longest insurgent war in Burma, for almost 60 years.

Quintana, also met several junta officials, including Foreign Minister Nyan Win, but did not meet detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of her party – National League for Democracy
continue http://www.mizzima.com/

Pe Sein, age 74, Organizer of the ‘National League for Democracy’ (NLD) party Monyin branch, Kachin State, said that he was freed with strings attached.

Freedom with strings attached Interview

by Myo Gyi
Monday, 23 February 2009 22:33

The Burmese military regime announced that they would release 6313 prisoners and began releasing them since Saturday, February 21. Among them, a prisoner of conscience said he was freed with strings attached.

Pe Sein, age 74, Organizer of the ‘National League for Democracy’ (NLD) party Monyin branch, Kachin State, said that he was freed with strings attached.

He said he was made to sign on a bond in accordance with section 401(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (parole) and was released from Myitkyina prison on Saturday.

He was arrested on 27 September 2007 during the monk-led protests, later known as the popular ‘Saffron Revolution’.

He was charged under section 505(b) of the Penal Code for committing crime against public tranquillity and was sentenced to two years of imprisonment in a summary trial.

Mizzima’s reporter Myo Gyi, in order to find out more of Pe Sein’s meaning of freed with strings attached, interviewed him after he was released from the prison.

Q: Now that you are freed, how is your health?

A: I’m now 74 years old. As an aged person, my health is not perfect. As all my dentures are damaged, I could not eat well, making me suffer from indigestion. Apart from that, there are no serious health problems. I think I’m not so bad. But I haven’t yet visited my doctor.

I reached my hometown Moenyin only at about 1 p.m. yesterday. I haven’t yet seen any doctors. I plan to go to Mandalay for a medical check-up. I will go for a check-up along with my fellow prison inmate Dr. Zaw Myint Maung from Amarapura who also plans to undergo a medical check-up. He told me to come to Mandalay. So I have the plan to visit Mandalay.

Q: Why do you think the authorities release?

A: We were not released unconditionally, but on condition. They told us that we were released under section 401(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. We had to sign on a bond saying we have to serve again a suspended punishment along with the next conviction. I have the remaining prison term of eight months from my original two years imprisonment. If I am convicted again with another case in the future, I have to serve the remaining suspended prison term –a new punishment for breaching this bond.

Q: Please tell me about your prison experience?

A: My prison experience is not so significant. I was not tortured and there was no persecution against me. I could stay in prison peacefully in a special cell segregated from ordinary criminal prisoners.

Q: Could you read and have the right to information in prison?

A: We could read in prison but we could not listen to the radio. We could read books and other reading materials permitted by the prison authorities. And also weekly journals which were permitted by the jail superintendent with his signature were available to us.

Q: What are your future plans?

A: At the moment, I plan to undergo a medical check-up. I’ll take treatment if needed after that. I have both vision and hearing problems. My leg was fractured. I cannot go alone for medical check-up. I need a companion for this trip. I think I need to take care of my own health first at the moment. But I am not disappointed with my party affairs. I have to continue this work also.

Q: They (authority) said the prisoners were released to let them take part in the planned 2010 election. What is your comment on this election?

A: It is, as I said before. We were released on condition, with strings attached. So it is contrary to the freedom and fairness of the 2010 election. I view it like that.

Q: What are your feelings about your fellow colleagues who are left in prison and on the people?

A: Though I was released from prison, I am not happy for myself. I feel very sorry for those who are still in prison. There were three persons including me imprisoned in connection with the 2007 September protests and charged under section 505(b) of Penal Code. Only I was released. Dr. Zaw Myint Maung had been in prison for a very long time. So I think I was in their criteria of ‘ageing people’ category. I am now 74 years old. Let alone in the entire nation, even my two co-defendants are still in prison so I feel extremely sorry for them. I cannot be happy as many political prisoners are still in prison and I was released with strings attached.

Q: How many political prisoners are there in Myitkyina prison?

A: There are over 20 political prisoners still in Myitkyina prison. But I do not remember all their names. I learnt that there are over 10 prisoners from Rangoon including Ko Zagana. We could not see them. In our cell, there are still about eight prisoners. So the total will be about 20. Even more tragic is the case of Ko Aye Thein who is insane. Another is Ko Hla Myo Naung from 88 Generation Students who lost one eye in the prison. Another one of his eyes will be lost unless he can get treatment in time. So I feel very sorry for them.

Q: What do you think is the reason for your release?

A: I think I am included in their criteria of ageing persons. Not only among political prisoners, no other prisoner in the entire prison in Myitkyina of a total of over 1,000 in number, are older than me. I think I was included in this ageing and disabled category so that they released me from prison.
http://www.mizzima.com/

The prize giving ceremony of the ‘Tawphayalay Aung Zay Memorial’ literary prize was cancelled as the Burmese junta authorities did not give permission for the ceremony.

by Nem Davies
Monday, 23 February 2009 21:26

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The prize giving ceremony of the ‘Tawphayalay Aung Zay Memorial’ literary prize was cancelled as the Burmese junta authorities did not give permission for the ceremony.

The ceremony was planned for tomorrow at a hotel in Kyauktada Township, Rangoon Division. But the local authorities, Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC), didn’t give permission for the ceremony and it had to be canceled.

“The hotel asked for official permission for the ceremony from us. They said that we need to bring an official permission from the Press Scrutiny Board (Censor Board) unless the host is the official Literary Organization. We need this permission, they said. But they didn’t give any other reason,” Daw Davies Thant Zin, daughter of late Tawphayalay, told Mizzima.

“We haven’t ever asked for such permission. We have had to change the venue as we didn’t get permission. All the invitations have already been sent out”, she added.

The ceremony was held at Thamada (President) Hotel last year without any permission. No similar literary ceremonies have been asked for such permission by the authorities earlier, it is learnt.

The literary circle said that the ban on holding the prize giving ceremony in the pretext of a permission being required might be due to the translated-book releasing ceremony held in January this year which was attended by ‘National League for Democracy’ (NLD) part leader U Win Tin who served a long prison term.

The host of this ‘Tawphayalay Memorial Literary Prize’ ceremony invited over 100 persons from the media and literary circles including U Win Tin.

The ‘Tawphayalay Memorial Literary Prize’ has been given annually since 2007.

This year, two prizes for Selected Short Stories category and Magazine category with a prize money of Kyat 100,000 each will be awarded.

The royal blood Tawphalay is the great grandson of the last Burmese King Thibaw and Queen Su Phaya Latt. He was born to the fourth princess, the granddaughter of King Thibaw, and fourth among his siblings.

He wrote some historical books including ‘The new generation loved by people’, ‘Ngamauk Ruby in London’ and ‘From Yadanbon to Ratnagiri’.

He died on 18 June 2006.
http://www.mizzima.com/

Coordinator of ALTSEAN-Burma said the ASEAN leaders must agree on a solution addressing Burma’s poor human rights record issue, which would be a big challenge for ASEAN, in the summit to be held from February 27 to March 1, in Thailand.

ASEAN leaders urged to address Burma’s rights issues in upcoming summit

by Salai Pi Pi
Monday, 23 February 2009 21:32

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Leaders of Southeast Asian countries (ASEAN) should address the issue of Burma’s poor human rights record in the forthcoming summit to be held at the end of this month, an activist has said.

Debbie Stothard, Coordinator of ALTSEAN-Burma said the ASEAN leaders must agree on a solution addressing Burma’s poor human rights record issue, which would be a big challenge for ASEAN, in the summit to be held from February 27 to March 1, in Thailand.

“They have to agree on some kind of solution to Burma,” Stothard told Mizzima on Monday, adding, “They should not just talk in a diplomatic manner, when the problems are happening.”

The activist’s comment came after ASEAN’s Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, at the 4th ASEAN Civil Society Conference held in Thailand, on February 21-22 said, the member states should take a firmer stance on human rights violations in Burma, citing the group’s new charter, which pledges the protection of human rights.

“With the charter, every issue from now on is on the table. Every issue from now on cannot be hidden. Every issue from now on is legitimate,” Pitsuwan said. continue http://www.mizzima.com/

International humanitarian law is increasingly becoming important in the curriculum of national defence institutes, said the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan today. “We need to be commonly aware of, and understand and respect the norms of humanitarian law,” said Dr Surin. “ASEAN Dialogue Partners and friends are keen to help the region to be more aware of the issues involving international humanitarian law,” he added.
http://www.aseansec.org/Bulletin-Feb-09.htm#Article-4

Nine former officials from Khin Nyunt’s Military Intelligence were also released from Kathar prison, according to people who went to the prison yesterday to see if Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal assistant Win Htein would be among those released

Amnesty granted to at least 23 political prisoners
Feb 23, 2009 (DVB)–At least 23 political prisoners are now confirmed to be among the 6316 prisoners released in the Burmese military regime’s latest amnesty, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners and other reports.

Among those released yesterday were Tin Htay and Than Htun from Nyaung Don, who were serving two and four and a half years respectively in Kalay prison in Sagaing division for possession of an illegal VCD of Than Shwe’s daughter’s wedding.
Zaw Naing Htway (also known as Kenneth), the brother of 88 Generation Students leader Marki, was also freed from the four-mile prison labour camp in Taung-ngu.
According to other sources, four Karen villagers from Shwe Kyin-Kyauk Kyi, who had been imprisoned for unlawful association, were released from the same camp.
Nine former officials from Khin Nyunt’s Military Intelligence were also released from Kathar prison, according to people who went to the prison yesterday to see if Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal assistant Win Htein would be among those released.
Dr Zaw Myint Maung, a people’s parliament representative from Amarapura in Mandalay division, was released from Kachin state’s Myitkyina prison on Saturday after serving 18 years in prison with four years left of his sentence.
His wife said Pe Sein, a member of Moe Nyin National League for Democracy organising wing, Tint Swe from Pu-tao and Naung Naung, Aung San Suu Kyi’s cameraman who was arrested after her trip to Kachin state, were also released from Myitkyina.
She said her husband was so excited to have been released after spending nearly 19 years in prison that he didn’t know what to say when she talked to him on phone.
“He was speechless when I talked to him on phone – he could only answer my questions but wouldn’t say anything else,” she said.
His daughter, who was only one year old at the time of his sentencing, said she was so happy to see him now as she never had spent time together with him before.
Other political prisoners among those released were San Chaung NLD chair Thet Wai, Kamaryut All Burma Federation of Student Unions member Tun Tun and Arakan Liberation Party member Khaing Ba Myint.
Five monks from San Chaung’s Nine-Storey Pagoda monastery who were arrested in 2003 for breaking curfew were also freed.
NLD spokesperson Nyan Win said the party had not expected many political prisoners to be released.
“We didn’t actually expect to see a lot of political prisoners on the list of those who were granted amnesty by the government,” Nyan Win said.
“In the government’s report about the release of the prisoners in newspapers, they used the term ‘civilian prisoners’, but the issue we are having with the 2010 elections is about the political prisoners,” he said.
“The government said the amnesty was granted to the inmates as a gesture of goodwill – but we see that it’s merely a front as there are only a few political prisoners included.”

continue http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=2242

23 February 2009
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) can confirm that 23 political prisoners were released from various prisons in Burma 21st February 2009.
On Friday the ruling military regime announced that it would release 6,313 prisoners from 21 February.

The list of released:
Myintkyina prison

Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, Member of Parliament from the National League for Democracy party, was released from Myitkyina Prison. He has been in jail since 1991.
U Pe Sein, Township organizer, Mohnyin, Kachin State.
U Naw Naw
Insein prison

U Kaythara (a) U Kyaw Min Thet
U Ingura (a) U Aye Tun Thar
U Thireina (a) U Kyaw Moe
U Marlaina (a) U Min Zaw Aung
U Ardatesa (a) U Aung Ko
U Takekanateya (a) U Maung Zaw
U Damitika (a) U Tun Tun
U Tun Zaw Htay (a) Tun Tun
U Khaing Ba Myint
U Soe
U Nandathiri (a) U Htay Ye Tun
U Sandima (a) U Zaw Min Htet
Ma Hmwe (a) Ma Kyin Haw
Ma Khin Khin Leah
Tin Hlaing
U Thet Wai (a) Pauk Sa
Kale prison

20. U Tin Htay

21. U Than Htay

22.Ma Htay (insein)

23.Zaw Naing Htwe (a) Kat Net (Labour camp)

My first reaction was; ‘I didn’t know that there were that many criminals in our country.’

Commentary: Prisoner releases are old news
Pascal Khoo-Thwe

Feb 23, 2009 (DVB)–The release of political prisoners in Burma announced by the Burmese regime on Friday is not news. They shouldn’t be there in the first place.

21 February. A snow storm hits Oslo. Burma’s military junta declares the release of 6313 ‘state’ prisoners ‘out of charity’. Neither of these events, in my opinion, is news.
The similarity between the two is that the events have occurred in their respective countries so often in the past that no local residents care. But the latter is manmade and it is impossible not to find it laughable but also depressing at the same time as the tragedy is preventable.
My first reaction was; ‘I didn’t know that there were that many criminals in our country.’ The State Peace and Development Council released 9002 prisoners in September 2008 and there were fewer than 10 political prisoners among them. This time around 20 political prisoners are released. Again, it is nothing new. There are more than 2000 political prisoners still languishing in jails throughout the country, away from their families. continue
http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=2243

Pics media conference

dscf2393
thanks to Ko Moejoe

http://picasaweb.google.com/moejoe1962/23209?authkey=nNb4Cfaovxw#5305918601996519090
or go http://www.jacbaburma.blogspot.com/

Burmese Media Gather in Chiang Mai
Burmese journalists have gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to discuss issues at the Burma Media Conference’s 6th anniversary.

The conference, organized by the Burma Media Association (BMA), was held from February 21 to 23. About 150 Burmese journalists, writers, poets and bloggers from various countries attended the conference.

The three-day conference included recorded video messages from Burma by well-known writer Dagon Tayar and veteran journalists Win Tin and Ludu Sein Win.

“Accuracy is important for us,” Ludu Sein Win told the conference. “The Burmese media in exile must report truthfully. There is no substitution for the truth.

“In Burma, the media should be biased on behalf of the oppressed. In the Burmese conflict, there is only a choice between two—the people who bully and those who are bullied,” he said, adding: “Good journalism means being biased toward the truth.” continue
http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=15173

An ethnic Shan migrant worker Aik Lone (30) was killed and 38 injured when their vehicle transporting them to a construction site overturned at a traffic junction near Chiang Mai airport, west of the city.

Truck accident kills Burmese migrant worker in Thailand

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A Toyota Dyna light truck carrying Burmese migrant workers overturned in northern Thailand on February 20 killing a man and injuring 38.

An ethnic Shan migrant worker Aik Lone (30) was killed and 38 injured when their vehicle transporting them to a construction site overturned at a traffic junction near Chiang Mai airport, west of the city.

“The truck hit a divider on the road and threw off passengers on the road and then it overturned”, Jo Tong Dee, office staff of ‘Migrant Assistance Programme’ (MAP), told Mizzima.

Among the injured, four persons including a 10-year old girl were critically injured and admitted to the hospital for treatment.

The girl was staying with her parents during her school holidays.

These migrant workers have official valid work permits and are registered. It is learnt that their employer will take all responsibility for the accident.

If the vehicle is insured with an insurance company, according to the Thai law, the next of kin of the persons who were killed in the accident are entitled to get Baht 100,000 as compensation from the insurance company. The injured persons can get Baht 15,000 each.

The driver of the truck has not been arrested but the car is being held at Chiang Mai police station.
http://www.mizzima.com/