A stinging attack by John Hartigan, the CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, labels bloggers and alternative media outlets as “political extremists”. Hartigan implies that bloggers should be jailed as they are in oppressive police states like China and Burma.

In a speech to the National Press Club, Hartigan savagely dismissed blogs as, “Something of such little intellectual value as to be barely discernible from massive ignorance.”

“Bloggers don’t go to jail for their work. They simply aren’t held accountable like real reporters….It could be said the blogosphere is all eyeballs and no insights,” barked Hartigan.

“In the blogosphere, of course, the mainstream media is always found wanting. It really is time this myth was blown apart.”

“Blogs, and a large number of comment sites, specialise in political extremism and personal vilification. Radical sweeping statements without evidence are common.”

Hartigan doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that the mainstream media is always found wanting because they habitually lie about news events and spin stories to suit the demands of their corporate owners. This is the very reason why blogs and alternative media outlets have become so popular and have eaten into the mainstream media’s audience share, because people are sick of being treated like idiots, sick of being lied to, and are desperately in search of the truth.

Indeed, Hartigan’s boss Rupert Murdoch confessed to the fact that his media empire tried to shape public opinion to support the war in Iraq In other words, Murdoch’s many prominent news outlets wantonly put out propaganda supporting the manufactured case for invasion. Murdoch admitted to this while lamenting the corporate media’s “loss of power” to alternative media and Internet blogs, seemingly unaware of the fact that the two are directly connected. continue

7-July-7-7-62 students uprising 1962 Rangoon University students uprising

7 July (1962), 7-7-62 students uprising (a) 1962 Rangoon University students uprising
8 July (1962), Ordered by Gen Ne Win, Brig-Gen Aung Gyi, Col Kyaw Soe, Lt-Col Sein Lwin, and Maj
Tun Yi, the fascist Burmese soldiers from 4 Burma Rifle Battalion destroyed the Student Union
Building, which had a prominent standing in the history of Burma independence movement. Ko
Kyaw Win of Myaungmya, who was in bed with injuries, and about 100-400 students were blown up
together with the building under a bloody policy declared by Gen Ne Win as to match “sword with
sword, spear with spear.” The bodies, some students still alive, w
ere crushed at the sewage treatment
plant in Rangoon.

Burma rally in Japan calls on UN chief to press junta

About 100 Burma activists rallied in Japan on Wednesday, calling on visiting UN chief Ban Ki-moon to press the junta to free political prisoners including democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.Protesters said Ban, who is slated to visit Burma on Friday and Saturday, must press the military regime for a concrete outcome when he meets the generals ruling the isolated country formerly known as Burma.

Ban Ki-moon used to say he would not visit until the military regime makes visible progress” toward democracy, said Myat Thu, 44, a Japan-based activist.

“I want him to achieve the release of political prisoners, like Aung San Suu Kyi,” he said, referring to the Nobel Peace laureate who has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years.

Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported Wednesday that the junta had given Ban permission to meet Aung San Suu Kyi, quoting an anonymous regime source, but the report could not be independently verified.

Ban visits Burma as the regime prepares to resume the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, who is charged with breaching the terms of her house arrest after an American man swam to her lakeside villa.

She faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

Ban has said he understood concern over the timing of his visit, but that he would urge Burma to release all political prisoners and resume talks with opposition leaders on holding elections.

The protesters rallying outside the foreign ministry held pictures of the democracy leader and chanted for democracy in Burma.

Japan has historically maintained relatively friendly ties with Burma and was previously its leading donor.

Tokyo drastically reduced development aid to Burma over human rights concerns, particularly after the junta cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrations led by Buddhist monks in 2007.

However, the Japanese government refused to join its Western allies in imposing sanctions.
BKK Post

The Bangladesh government may award offshore gas exploration contracts to multinational companies in the Bay of Bengal while excluding blocks that may fall in the territories under dispute with neighbours India and Myanmar.

Dhaka may give gas exploration contracts to foreign companies
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the energy division to send a proposal to the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) to award nine offshore gas blocks to two international oil companies, New Age newspaper said.
US firm ConocoPhilips may be selected for the offshore exploration and the Irish firm Tullow Oil may be awarded a shallow-water block, leaving out the ones in disputed areas.
The task of awarding oil and exploration contracts has been pending for long since the Khaleda Zia government (2001-06) withheld decisions on energy issues in the final phase of its rule. The Zia government was followed by a caretaker government (2007-08) that also shied away from decision-making.
Bangladesh is handicapped by the absence of a maritime boundary with neighbours India and Myanmar. This has kept away major multinational energy exploration companies.
“The government may award only three to four blocks to the two oil companies as it does not want to take any decision right at this moment about the blocks that are in the offshore areas which have also been claimed by India and Myanmar,” an official of the energy division said.
The CCEA headed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, officials said, will decide as per the proposal to the prime minister that includes a detailed account of the process adopted in selection.
The government will ensure that it does not award too many blocks to a single company to keep its options open, officials said.
In a related move, the state sector Petrobangla on Tuesday awarded US firm Chevron a $52mn contract to install gas compressor and conduct 3D survey in Jalalabad in the northeastern region.
The gas compressor station will be installed at Muchai in the gas pipeline owned by the state sector Gas Transmission Company., The Daily Star reported. IANS
gulf times

U.N. Mission To Nowhere-Ban Ki-moon can’t fell the Burmese regime.by Bertil Lintner

There is little hope for a release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi when United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits the country tomorrow. So far, the ruling military junta has ignored all calls by the international community for a negotiated solution to the country’s political problems. Mr. Ban’s visit will follow eight previous visits by U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari — all of which failed to achieve anything but a few cosmetic changes and publicity stunts. Once the dust has settled, it has always been business as usual.

The fundamental flaw in the U.N.’s approach to Burma is that it fails to take into account how transitions from authoritarianism to more pluralistic societies have occurred in Asia. At a U.N. press briefing June 29, a spokesman said Mr. Ban plans to focus on three issues during his visit to Burma: the resumption of dialogue between the junta and the opposition, a process of “national reconciliation,” and the creation of “a condition conducive to credible elections in 2010.”

However, it would be difficult to “resume” a dialogue that has never begun. The junta has never mentioned “national reconciliation” in its announcements to the people of Burma — only “national reconsolidation,” code for perpetuating military rule without the participation of the opposition. The belief that the leader of the junta, Gen. Than Shwe, and Ms. Suu Kyi would sit down and discuss the country’s future is outright naïve. Continue reading “U.N. Mission To Nowhere-Ban Ki-moon can’t fell the Burmese regime.by Bertil Lintner”

Human Rights Watch has warned that Burma’s military leaders could use an upcoming visit by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to legitimize elections planned for 2010.

The New York-based group’s director, Kenneth Roth, said in a statement Wednesday that Mr. Ban should speak out if Burma does not commit to reforms.

Human Rights Watch said in the statement that recent U.N. efforts to mediate between Burma’s military government and its political opponents have failed to produce any concrete results.

But Roth said it is time for Burma to stop stalling and playing games. He said Mr. Ban has offered Burma a roadmap to end its international isolation.

The statement was released the same day that the U.N. chief met with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso in Tokyo. After the meeting, Mr. Ban restated the goals for his two-day visit to Burma, which will begin Friday.Mr. Ban called on Burma to release political prisoners, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose trial is scheduled to resume the day of the U.N. chief’s arrival.

The U.N. secretary-general said he also will press Burmese leaders to resume dialogue with opposition groups, and to provide for credible elections in 2010.

Mr. Ban is scheduled to meet with Burma’s top general, Than Shwe.

It is not clear whether the U.N. chief will be able to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi during his two-day visit.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is on trial in a Rangoon prison on charges of violating her house arrest by letting an uninvited American stay overnight after he swam to her home last month.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest. If convicted, she faces five years in prison.
voa news

– About 3000 Karen refugees, who fled to Thailand to escape the Burmese Army’s offensive in eastern Burma, will be shifted to another camp – ‘Thinukhok’ on the Thai-Burma border in the first week of July, said a Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG).

Karen refugees to be shifted to another camp
by Ko Wild
Wednesday, 01 July 2009 22:15

Chiangmai (Mizzima) – About 3000 Karen refugees, who fled to Thailand to escape the Burmese Army’s offensive in eastern Burma, will be shifted to another camp – ‘Thinukhok’ on the Thai-Burma border in the first week of July, said a Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG).

“The authorities plan to shift the newly arrived refugees to a new camp. They will decide this week. The camp is called ‘Thinukhok’ and it is said to be an old camp,” said Naw Ei Paw Thu, spokesperson of KHRG.

“An official announcement is yet to be made. Approximately, it is slated for July 7,” she added.

The decision to shift newly arrived Karen refugees was made at a meeting held on June 23, where representatives from Thailand’s forest reservation organization called Black Ranger, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Thai Army and other civilian authorities participated.

The Karen refugees fled from Burma and sought shelter in Thasaungyang town in Tak district in Thailand after the Burmese Army backed Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) attacked the Karen National Liberated Army (KNLA) in Karen state, eastern Burma in early June.

The refugees will be allowed to stay for only two or three months in the new camp. If it is not safe in places where they fled from, the refugees will be taken back to the Mae La camp.

However, there is no official confirmation that the refugees will be asked to go back to the Mea La camp if the situation in Karen State is still tense, said the person in-charge of the Mae la camp.

“The UNHCR, MOI and the Thai Army have not yet informed the camp. In my point of view, if the camp is overcrowded, there will be problems relating to rations and accommodation. Since they used to live in the forest, I think they can manage,” Saw Aaku, joint-secretary of the Mea La camp told Mizzima.

Now, the newly arrived refugees are sheltered in three Thai villages Nophaw, Mae Usu and U Tutha village in Thasaungyang Township, around 70 kilometres north of Mae Sot in Thailand.

Dr. Cin Tia Maung’s Mae Taw clinic, Thai-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), the Karen Women’s group and other NGOs in cooperation with the Thai authorities gave aid such as food and medicine to the Karen refugees.

To make matters worse the refugees are facing shortage of drinking water, according to camp authorities.

BURMA: U.N. Chief Comes Calling with Politics on His Mind

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK, Jul 1 (IPS) – The return this week of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to military-ruled Burma gives the mission an air of a high-stakes gamble. On the line is the world body’s credibility to make headway in a country where outside pressure to break a political deadlock is frequently ignored by the military junta.

Ban’s two-day visit to Burma, also known as Myanmar, will be the first occasion where he is expected to formally discuss with the military leaders key issues such as the release of over 2,100 political prisoner, including that of pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Also on the cards during the visit from July 3 to 4 are a push for the long-stalled reconciliation talks between the military regime and the opposition, led by the National League for Democracy (NLD).

The secretary-general “looks forward to returning to [Burma] to address directly with the senior leadership a broad range of issues, including longstanding concerns to the United Nations and to the international community,” says Michele Montas, Ban’s spokesperson, in a statement released ahead of the visit.

He believes that the issues of political prisoners, the resumption of dialogue between the government and the opposition to achieve national reconciliation, and setting the stage for credible elections in 2010 “cannot be left unaddressed at this juncture of the country’s political process,” Montas added.

The NLD is welcoming the visit even though its leader, Suu Kyi, remains incarcerated in the notorious Insein Prison in Rangoon, the former capital. The 64-year-old Suu Kyi, who has spent over 14 of her last 20 years under house arrest, is on trial in a bizarre case involving a U.S. citizen who showed up as an uninvited guest in her home in early May after he swam there across a lake.

“We welcome the U.N. mission,” Nyan Win, the NLD’s spokesman, said during a telephone interview from Rangoon. “Ban Ki-moon needs to meet our leader Aung San Suu Kyi during this visit.”

Such a personal encounter with Suu Kyi will be “important for political stability in Burma,” he added. “Political issues have to be discussed.”

A meeting with Suu Kyi, the universally recognised icon for Burma’s pro-democracy movement, will be a first for the world body’s top diplomat. Ban did not have such an occasion when he made his first visit to the South-east Asian country in May last year.

The 2008 visit was billed as a humanitarian mission, not a political one. It came in the wake of the powerful Cyclone Nargis tearing through the country’s Irrawaddy Delta in early May, killing some 150,000 people and affecting over a million people. Continue reading “BURMA: U.N. Chief Comes Calling with Politics on His Mind”