DKBA troops threaten to shell Thai villagers if they do not supply food in support of attack on refugees-FBR

FBR REPORT: DKBA troops threaten to shell Thai villagers if they do not supply food in support of attack on refugees
Karen State, Burma
10 June, 2009
The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, which fights alongside the Burma Army, has threatened to shell Thai villagers if they do not supply food to them in support of their attack on Ler Per Her refugee camp. Noh Bo village is a few kilometers away from Ler Per Her camp on the Thai side of the Moei River.
Map showing area of Ler Per Her refugee camp
The DKBA and Burma Army began an attack on Ler Per Her refugee camp on June 7, raining shells on the area around the camp. The DKBA made the threat to shell Noh Bo villagers after beginning shelling in Burma opposite Noh Bo at 8am on June 8.
On June 7, DKBA soldiers also launched an attack on the KNLA 7th Brigade Headquarters opposite Mae Salik in Tak Province north of Mae Sot. The DKBA and Burma Army soldiers have reinforced at Mae Tha Waw and are expected to continue attacking.

Partners Relief and Development and Free Burma Rangers are providing help to some 3,521 refugees who have fled the camp at Ler Per Her. They are supplying food, clothes, plastic, tarps and mosquito repellant. Villagers who have fled are particularly facing problems with malaria, Acute Respiratory Infections and diarrhea.

24 soldiers from the Burma Army and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army have been killed or injured in the fighting. In three days of fighting, no casualties have been reported among the Karen National Liberation Army soldiers trying to prevent them overrunning 7th Brigade HQ and Ler Per Her refugee camp. FBR received reports that shelling lasted all day on June 9 and began again at 8am on June 10, particularly in the areas opposite Noh Bo and around the 7th Brigade Headquarters.

More Attacks in Northern Karen State
Meanwhile in northern Karen State, the Burma Army attacked in the Ho Kee and Ha To Per villages in Tantabin township, Toungoo district on June 5.

More than 100 villagers have fled into the jungle since the attack began. Khin Maung Sin took over as commander of the Military Operation Command 5 and leader of Kler Ler camp after the previous commander died.

ASEAN, Donor Countries Seeking Guarantees From Burma on Cyclone Recovery Aid

By Daniel Schearf
10 June 2009
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations says countries donating to Burma’s cyclone recovery efforts are seeking re-assurances of cooperation from Burmese authorities. Donor nations and aid groups are worried Burma may reduce access to the country after the military-ruled government eliminated a mechanism for fast-track visa processing for foreign aid workers.

Representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met with donor countries and international organizations Wednesday in Bangkok.

The group of more than thirty participants discussed aid efforts for Burma’s recovery from last year’s devastating cyclone Nargis. Continue reading “ASEAN, Donor Countries Seeking Guarantees From Burma on Cyclone Recovery Aid”

Canadian Friends of Burma dispute information on lobbyists’ applications.Complaint filed with Commissioner regarding Ivanhoe’s lobbyists

from Canadian Friends of Burma

The Canadian Friends of Burma have filed a formal complaint with the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada concerning the recent lobbyist registrations of Eddie Goldenberg and Allan Gotlieb, two high powered lobbyists hired by Ivanhoe Mines to lobby the government of Canada regarding foreign investment in Mongolia.

CFOB’s complaint raises questions whether information in both Mr. Gotlieb’s and Mr. Goldenberg’s registrations in the Registry of Lobbyists is completely accurate. The Lobbying Act requires that registrations be complete and accurate.

“Mining companies are registered in Canada like ships are registered in Liberia.”

Both Gotlieb and Goldenberg stated in the lobbying registrations that their client Ivanhoe does not have any subsidiaries that could benefit from their lobbying regarding investment in Mongolia. In fact, Ivanhoe’s latest Annual Information form filed with the SEC lists several “principle subsidiaries” that could be affected by their lobbying — these include Ivanhoe’s fully owned Mongolian subsidiary Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc and SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd which is 80 percent owned by Ivanhoe and has substantial coal interests in Mongolia.

Mr. Goldenberg was seen as a key member of former Prime Minister Chretien’s brain trust. He served as a senior policy advisor to Chretien from November 1993 till June 2003 when he took over as the Prime Minister’s Chief of staff, a role he served till the end of Chretien’s tenure as prime minister.

Mr. Gotlieb was as an important senior civil servant in Ottawa during the Trudeau era before his appointment as Canadian Ambassador to the US in 1981, a position he held UNTIL 1988. Mr. Gotlieb also served on the board of directors of Hollinger, the defunct media giant controlled by now jailed tycoon Conrad Black.

Mongolia is the site of Ivanhoe’s planned Oyu Tolgoi development, a controversial mining project which has attracted strong protests from many in Mongolia. In April 2006 Ivanhoe’s Chairman Robert Friedland was burned in effigy at a massive protest in the Mongolian capital.

Friedland angered many Mongolians when he boasted about the benefits of Ivanhoe’s Mongolian plan, “The nice thing about this, there’s no people around. …There’s no NGOs….You’ve got lots of room for waste dumps without disrupting the population.” (“DESERT STORM” York, Geoffrey The Globe Report on Business Magazine 30 Sept 2005).

In 2007 Ivanhoe’s partner in Mongolia, Rio Tinto acquired a 9.95 percent stake in Ivanhoe Mines in a deal that stated that Ivanhoe was withdrawing from Burma. Despite Ivanhoe’s claims that they withdrew from Burma, the firm (by way of a blind trust created in February 2007) continues to own a 50 percent stake in Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Company Limited (MICCL), the joint venture created by Ivanhoe with the Burmese military regime to operate Burma’s largest mine the Monywa copper project.

The “blind trust” is extremely convenient for Ivanhoe because the firm can continue to own a 50 percent stake in the mine and claim they’ve pulled out of Burma. Residents living near the Monywa mine believe that Ivanhoe has refused to address toxic pollution caused by the mine which has severely impacted neighboring farmland. Continue reading “Canadian Friends of Burma dispute information on lobbyists’ applications.Complaint filed with Commissioner regarding Ivanhoe’s lobbyists”

POEM-Afraid to sleep lest the nightmare might begin again- by May Ng (is a member of Justice for Human Rights in Burma)

Afraid to sleep lest the nightmare might begin again

Lulled by the magic show, called Ceasefire,
Put on by the Chameleon government of SLORC, SPDC, etc…
The calm before the storm is always bad news for you little children of Burma who have lived in a shipwrecked state for too long.

Comforted by the mistaken notion
That it could never be too bad for Burmese
Who could always get used to the hardships, deprivations, tortures and military domination
In my inescapable nightmares
Where all of you are forever in agony and we ourselves and everyone cease to care.
From my vantage point of view I see the optimism of the free world slipping further and further out of reach
From the political chaos of Burma

Afraid to sleep lest the nightmare will come again
I saw the dead faces of the living generals of Rangoon
Under their tight brown masks hardly covering their vacant greedy minds
Inescapable bad dreams where so much blood had shed since they took power
Blood of our children, budding hopes and brave intellectuals
Generation after generation
They rose up and were cut down
And the rest of the world who were intellectuals
Who were free
Coolly just said
There was nothing wrong and we believed that Continue reading “POEM-Afraid to sleep lest the nightmare might begin again- by May Ng (is a member of Justice for Human Rights in Burma)”

Powerless against The Lady

by May Ng
Tuesday, 09 June 2009 14:31

Signs that the government in Burma is losing its power are everywhere. While the latest collapse of a pagoda recently re-anointed with help from the wives of Army generals may provide a sign of diminishing divine right for the military junta, other important clues come from the reason why a military government armed to the teeth is very afraid of the gentle lady who speaks softly from behind bars as well as barefoot monks who pray peacefully.

Some observers justify military rule in Burma with an assumption that without the Army there will be a power vacuum and chaos will ensue. Aside from the obvious question of whether temporary stability provided by a bloody tyrant is to be preferred over the long term struggle toward a meaningful political reconciliation, the urgent question in Burma is what if the military has already lost its power and legitimacy. What if the Burmese government no longer has the power or capacity to rule without the constant use of violence? Can an Army which clings to power through the barrel of the gun still be considered a legitimate source of power?

The source of legitimacy originates from the people. As the government in Burma has failed to justify its rule in meeting the wishes of the people, the ruling military desperately seeks external sources of legitimacy from sources like the United Nations and ASEAN. The seduction of wealth accrued from Burma too often influences the world to forget lessons learned from the past – for example American support for the Shah of Iran. A belief that through friendly encouragement powerful nations can help the military in Burma liberalize and democratize is not as innocent as it may sound. Continue reading “Powerless against The Lady”

Junta meet with Mongla inconclusive

The meeting between the National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS) and the junta negotiators yesterday on the transformation proposal ended inconclusively, according to a source close to the NDAA leadership on the Sino-Burma border.

Senior NDAA leaders led by Sai Leun aka Lin Mingxian, 63, met with the delegation led by Military Affairs Security (MAS) chief Lt-Gen Ye Myint yesterday at its main base in Mongla, opposite Daluo.

Ye Myint was accompanied by Brig Gen Kyaw Phyoe, Commander of Kengtung-based Triangle Region Command, Mongkhark area commander Nay Lin and another MAS officer from Kengtung, among others Continue reading “Junta meet with Mongla inconclusive”

First woman chairperson of Arakanese organization

Dhaka: For the first time an Arakanese woman has become the chairperson of an Arakanese organization, which has both men and women.

The Arakanese Social Association (Japan), ASAJ, elected a woman as chairperson of its organization during its annual conference.

Ma Khin Thida Aung, a woman social activist, was elected chairperson during the ASAJ annual conference held at the Yokomaha Kenmin Centre in Tokyo, Japan on 7 June 2009.

She has to serve as chairperson during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

According to a report of the organization, many members attended the conference and elected her as the chairperson.

ASAJ is a social Arakanese organization and has no connection with politics. The organization carries out social welfare work not only for Arakanese in Japan but also other Arakanese people in Burma, especially in the education sector.

The ASAJ donated a large amount of money to victims of Cyclone Nargis in Hai Gyi Island and other affected areas in the Irrawaddy delta last year.

The organization has nearly 100 members living in Japan. It was established by a group of Arakanese patriots in 1993 aiming to financially assist Arakanese people around the world in the sector of social welfare.

A member of the organization said, “We elected Ma Khin Thida Aung as chairperson to promote all the affairs of our organization within a short period. We hope she will do her best for our people.”

In the Arakanese community, a woman has never become a president or chairperson in an organization where there are both men and women. So many Arakanese have welcomed Ma Khin Thida Aung heading the ASAJ.

Another member form Japan said, “It is proof that there is no gender bias in the Arakanese community.”


The Burmese military junta has extended its ethnic radio programs to one hour long in order to propagate its strategies and activities among the ethnic nationalities of Burma.

SPDC Extends Ethnic Radio Program for Propaganda

Sittwe: The Burmese military junta has extended its ethnic radio programs to one hour long in order to propagate its strategies and activities among the ethnic nationalities of Burma.

One listener said, “The ethnic radio program for seven major nationalities in Burma was being aired through Myanmar Broadcasting Service in Naypyidaw and each nationality gets one hour on air per day in their respective languages.”

The seven major nationalities that are represented in the radio program are Arakanese, Mon, Kachin, Shan, Karen, Kayah, and Chin.

“The Arakanese program is aired every day from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Most of the time is used for Arakanese national songs. But the radio airs the policies of the military junta between the songs, one after one, using up nearly 30 minutes,” the listener said.

The Burmese military authority did not allow the airing of Arakanese nationalist songs in the past, but is now attempting to draw Arakanese to listen to the radio program.

According to a local source, even though the Arakanese radio program airs Arakanese songs through the Myanmar Broadcasting Service, the program is less popular than the BBC, VOA, and RFA. The majority of people are still listening to the BBC, VOA, and RFA to get accurate and unbiased news stories about Burma.

When asked over the phone about Sittwe FM radio, a monk told Narinjara that Burma Information Minister Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan once told a senior monk in Sittwe that the Burmese military junta has been defeated in the media war with opposition groups, despite the junta having the upper hand in other sectors.

The military junta recently set up a FM radio station in Sittwe to propagate its policies. Before the radio program, the junta had set up a printing house in Sittwe to publish its newspapers – Kaymon and New Light of Myanmar – for local distribution to Arakanese. However, these attempts to target people with media have apparently failed to gain the support of Arakanese.

Radio Free Asia (Burmese) and the Democratic Voice of Burma also air programs every day in the various ethnic languages, and all major ethnic nationalities in Burma receive nearly 30 minutes a day of programming in their language.

Thai government briefs people on Salween dam project

by May Kyaw
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 21:59

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The government of Thailand has explained to its people on June 8 the benefit which will accrue to Thailand from the Salween Hat Gyi Dam.

A Thai government official of the Environment Department explained about the dam to people who will be relocated because of its construction.

“I still do not know the details of the agreement reached between the Thai and Burmese governments for the construction of the dam. Questions will be raised in Parliament regarding the details of the project,” the official told Mizzima.

He told this to the Mizzima correspondent during a tour of Kha Lekho village in Thailand.

The tour had media people, Thai government officials of the Electrical Power Department, Construction Department, Environment Department and Researchers.

On completion of the project, Thailand will get 90 per cent of the electricity generated and Burma will receive only the remaining 10 per cent, Thai Electrical Power Department officials said.

“The project will take seven years to complete but the official agreement has not yet been reached. We cannot say anything at this stage. The project may be cancelled,” an engineer from the Thai Electric Power Department said.

The Thai government has said that six villages home to 1,800 people need to be relocated for the construction of the dam project. But the local people claimed that in reality 24 villages would be affected. Continue reading “Thai government briefs people on Salween dam project”