Letter From Paris: Burma — Aung San Suu Kyi Goes on Trial in Prison by Huffington Post

Here is a vlog that Jim Carrey has made making his personal statement in support of Aung San Suu Kyi and asking us to help in an email campaign.IN THE FIELD: The trial of Burmas pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi opened Monday amid tight security at an infamous jail in the country’s main city. At least one person was arrested near the prison, where some 200 Suu Kyi supporters were gathered.

How else can we help? Among our opportunities: Check out the U.S. Campaign for Burma. Participate in their “Arrest Yourself” for a day and host a party.

Update: Sorry, I’d looked at more than one of the Jim Carrey videos. Here’s the video with the email address: continue



May 17, 2009

Please forward.

In the ongoing discussion about United States’ policy towards Burma – and similar dictatorships, particularly North Korea – a number of commentators have used the words “regime change,” saying that the U.S. should not support such change. For readers who are unfamiliar with this phrase, it is important to recognize that it is rife with subtexts.

Regime change clearly signifies the end of the dictatorship in power, but its usage is intended to imply that such an event, or the United States’ involvement in bringing it about, is a negative. The idea of regime change is that one dictatorship will be replaced with another, and with U.S. support.

This is a purposeful misstatement of United States foreign policy (at least since the end of the Cold War). When Washington works to increase the pressure on the worst, most brutal and murderous governments of the world, the objective is to help the peoples suffering under such tyranny. The policy goal is freedom, followed by democracy and nation building. No one can argue with that. Some commentators, though, persist in labeling such a transition a regime change. Their reasons for doing so include that they are anti-American, or for the dictatorship in question, or both.

Anytime you read the words “regime change” in a political commentary, you should immediately be suspicious of the intentions of the writer. Indeed, even Iraq, the U.S. war there and which Dictator Watch opposed, because it was based on a lie about weapons of mass destruction instead of the goal to liberate the people from the oppression of Saddam Hussein, has, although with tremendous and unnecessary cost, given the Iraqis a taste of freedom. The transition in Iraq is not a regime change. The country has the beginnings of a democratic government, although some Iraqi groups, with assistance from Iran and Syria, are seeking to destroy it and reclaim dictatorial power.

Returning to Burma, and North Korea, U.S. policy should be grounded in a determination to help achieve freedom for these countries, as soon as possible, not a placid acceptance of a horrific status quo.

On another semantic note, some people express misgivings when the ethnic resistance groups of Burma refer to the military junta, the SPDC, as “the enemy.” For whatever reasons these people are unwilling to accept the true nature of Than Shwe and the other top generals.

What would you call someone who attacks your villages and rapes and murders your people? Your friend? Or who imprisons and seems bent on killing, slowly but surely, democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?

Than Shwe and the SPDC are “THE ENEMY” of the people of Burma, of all the people, and peoples, of the country. When everyone in the pro-democracy movement accepts this, and acts accordingly, freedom will be much easier to achieve.

The simplest and least cost solution, of course, for the latter in both money and human lives, would be a well-placed predator drone or cruise missile, to decapitate the SPDC.

Is this truly such an unrealistic prospect? President Obama could sign an executive order designating the people of Burma friends and allies of the United States, and the SPDC its enemy, at which point quick and decisive action could be taken.


The KPF prepares to become Border Guard Force in Three Pagodas Pass

Wed 20 May 2009, Rai Maraoh, IMNA
With direct support from the Burmese army, the Karen Peace Force is transitioning to the Border Guard Force in 6 months. ?

The Karen Peace Force (KPF) is currently preparing for its reassignment as the Border Guard Force (BGF) along the Thai – Burma border in Three Pagoda Pass (TPP), according sources close with KPF groups.

“They (KPF) are arranging to build a new battalion head quarters along the Three Pagodas Pass border, and will receive additional army training from the Burmese forces, depending on what positions soldiers will fill. The Burmese government has given them 6 months to prepare for becoming the BGF. At the moment the KPF do not have specific orders in the township” said a TPP resident, who had spoke with a KPF officer. The soldiers will also receive full material support from the government, including weapons and ammunition.

KPF split from the Karen National Union ( KNU) in 1997 and the same year surrendered to Burmese government.

Currently, there are 500 KPF soldiers, and the formation of a new battalion for the BGF will use about 326 soldiers. However, an SPDC force of 30 Burmese soldiers will augment every battalion, the KPF officer was heard to have said.

“In Three Pagodas Pass, KPF Battalion 3 is preparing to become the border guard,” said a source from the KPF, “They (KPF) demolished their old battalion headquarters, and currently live at the Burmese base as they arrange to build a new battalion headquarters on the border.”

The KPF border guard armies are from the townships of Kyaikdon Battalion no 1, Kyainnseikyi Battalion no 2 and Three Pagoda Pass Battalion no 3.

“Now, the KPF is trying to recruit new members to fill the need for soldier in the border guard force.,” added the source from the KPF ,“They’re trying to organize villagers where they plan on basing their new headquarters. The KPF does not have many soldiers since they split from the KNU.“ According to a Kaowao news article published on May 9, KPF groups met with officer Naypyi Daw and the Southeast Commander, That Naing Win, in Naypyidaw on March 30th, to hold talks about their possible transition to a border guard force.


read also http://www.kaowao.org/may10-2009news.php

The Burmese military junta authorities have tightened security in Sittwe and Tungup towns in Western Burma where anti-regime protests took place in the recent past.

The Burmese military junta authorities have tightened security in Sittwe and Tungup towns in Western Burma where anti-regime protests took place in the recent past.

Two days after Aung San Suu Kyi was transferred to Insein prison on May 14 to face her trial, the police in Sittwe were deployed at crowded places in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine (Arakan state) – such as near the Town Hall, around the University, Atulamarazein and Ye Kyaw Thu pagodas, Vaishali stadium, U Ottama Park and Lawkananda pagodas.

“There are 300 police personnel deployed here. They are standing by, a local resident from Narzi Ward told Mizzima.

Similarly, police personnel have been patrolling Tungup in southern Rakhine State, since May 17.

“About 100 policemen are patrolling the town in three police patrol cars. The local authorities are closely monitoring the situation in the backdrop of Daw Suu’s trial,” the local resident from Tungup said.

A youth from Tungup National League for Democracy (NLD) said that the local people are disenchanted with the transfer of Aung San Suu Kyi to Insein prison to face trial.

“We are also watching the situation very closely. We will launch a movement if necessary,” he said.

Sittwe and Tungup are the places where political protests and movements have taken place and demonstrations were staged during the 2007 September saffron revolution.


Suu Kyi’s trial a ’half-open court’; defense counsels

nld-press1s Wednesday, 20 May 2009 18:09 – BST

Defense counsels of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said the trial on Wednesday was a ‘half-open’ court but welcomed the authority’s permission to allow foreign diplomats and a few journalists to witness the trial.

Kyi Win, Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer, said all together 30 embassy officials and 10 journalists were present in the court session on Wednesday, where two witnesses were cross examined.

“We don’t know the reasons for allowing the diplomats and journalists but whatever it may be, we believe it is a progressive step. We want to see a more open court, where the public can also be present,” Kyi Win said.

“But now it is only a half-open court,” he added.


People in Mongton Township, eastern Shan State, north of the Chiangmai border, are from now on banned from selling their land to the Wa settlers, according to border sources

Commander: No more selling of land to Wa
According to an order from Kengtung-based Triangle Region Command Commander Brig-Gen Kyaw Phyoe, people in Mongton Township, eastern Shan State, north of the Chiangmai border, are from now on banned from selling their land to the Wa settlers, according to border sources.

Brig-Gen Kyaw Phyoe

On 3 May, Kyaw Phyoe ordered Pongpakhem, a sub-township of Mongton, to inform the local people that no one would be allowed to sell their land to the Wa and that people who fail to abide by the order would be punished and their lands confiscated by the Burma Army.

“Don’t sell your land to the Wa anymore,” a villager quoted one of the land surveyors as saying.

According to Wa authorities, about 80,000 Wa villagers from the Sino-Burma border have been resettled along the Thai-Burma border.

In addition, the commander also assigned officials to measure the area of each person’s house plus compound and order them to apply for title deeds, said another villager.
Continue reading “People in Mongton Township, eastern Shan State, north of the Chiangmai border, are from now on banned from selling their land to the Wa settlers, according to border sources”