Vice-Senior General Maung Aye to tour Nargis-hit region

Thursday, 07 January 2010 22:24 Mizzima News

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Vice-Senior General Maung Aye, number two in the Burmese military hierarchy will tour the Nargis-hit Irrawaddy Delta tomorrow, according to military sources.

Maung Aye will visit places including Kyone Dar located in Dedaye township and inspect constructions underway in the Irrawaddy Delta. He will be mainly inspecting the places that were visited by Senior General Than Shwe in November 2009. Than Shwe, during his trip to Irrawaddy Delta, had instructed officers to complete all construction of buildings, schools and government offices in the Nargis-hit delta by 31 March 2010.

General Maung Aye is expected to push for the completion of projects by the deadline.

The constructions are mainly being done by companies that are close to the military regime such as Asia World Company Ltd., Shwe Than Lwin Company Limited, Htoo Trading and T.Z.T.M Construction Company Ltd.

There is criticism regarding the construction of the projects in the Irrawaddy Delta and many point out that more buildings need to be built.

General Maung Aye is presently in Rangoon, the former capital of Burma, attending the funeral of his close friend former Home Minister Vice General Mya Thin, who expired on January 4.

Independent news websites accessible in Burma for now

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Some independent Burmese news websites and blogs including Mizzima’s main websites ( and, which were earlier blocked by the junta have been allowed access in Burma now.

Moreover, some political websites and blogs, strictly blocked by the junta after the 2007 September saffron revolution can be accessed from early this month in some townships in Burma.

Internet users in Rangoon, Mandalay and Pyapon in Irrawaddy Division can now freely visit independent Burmese news websites that are operated from outside Burma such as Mizzima and Irrawaddy as well as political blogs such as Dr. Lun Swe, Nicknayman, September Thavara, Ko Htike, Soneseeya without using proxy servers.

It may not be true for all the places and townships in these areas of Burma mentioned but Mizzima reporters asked some readers living in these states about accessing the previously banned websites and they confirmed it.

“I am surprised to see all these websites can be accessed. We could not do so till the end of December. Now we can access them from early this month. Now I am downloading songs from Youtube,” a company staff who usually uses internet in Rangoon told Mizzima. Youtube was banned in Burma. Continue reading “Independent news websites accessible in Burma for now”

THAILAND: With Hmong Expulsion, Army Asserts Foreign Policy Role

Analysis by Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK, Jan 6 (IPS) – The recent deportation of Hmong asylum seekers to Laos has shown that Thailand’s powerful military remains the dominant player in shaping the relationship between this South-east Asian kingdom and its immediate neighbours.

Thai analysts are hardly surprised, given the long history of the Thai army calling the shots to determine Bangkok’s foreign policy with neighbouring Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Malaysia. It is rooted in military thinking that was dominant during the Cold War, when Thailand was a strong ally of the United States government’s war in Indo-China.

“The army has always sought to be in charge of Thailand’s foreign policy with regards to its immediate neighbours,” said Sunai Phasuk, Thailand researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), the New York-based global rights lobby. “The treatment of the Hmong reflects this. It carries a lot of Cold War baggage to some extent.”

Such power enables the Thai military to “verify who can stay and who cannot stay in the country,” Sunai told IPS. “The deportation of the Hmong reveals the new relationship between the Thai army and the Laotian government.”

In fact, the operation that saw more than 4,000 Hmong men, women and children deported on Dec. 28 last year had all the flair of a military operation. An estimated 5,000-strong Thai force, armed with batons and shields, ensured that all the members of this vulnerable ethnic minority were transported in a convoy of some 100 military trucks and buses to Laos. Continue reading “THAILAND: With Hmong Expulsion, Army Asserts Foreign Policy Role”

Unprecedented use of forced porters by Burmese army in Tenasserim Division

January 6, 2010
HURFOM, Tenasserim: According to reports from local sources, 440 villagers from villages throughout Tenasserim Division were recently forced to carry supplies for soldiers under command of the Military Operation Management Comment (MOMC) No.20. MOMC No.20 is based in Tenasseerim Division, under the command of Brigadier General Thein Kyaw Myint.
A retired Karen National Union (KNU) officer, who had been informed by village headmen from the beset villages, told HURFOM’s field reporter that most villagers forced to porter were Karen. The porters were forced to carry loads such as rice and cooking materials for soldiers. According to retired officer, this is the first time in his experience so many villagers have been forced into portering in one operation. The porters carry goods consisted of both men and women.
The 440 villagers who were used for portering were drawn from the following villages: Naw Tae, 40 people; Thin Baw Oo, 50 people; Tha Ra Wa Chaung, 70 people; Zinma Gang, 30 people; Tee Chaung Wa, 70 people; Par Kying, 30 people; Kyauk Lone, 40 people; King Nee Gang, 40 people; Tha Mu, 30 people; Moe Row, 40 people.
HURFOM is able to confirm that this is the first time a Burmese army State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) battalion has used this large a number of villagers to porter goods in Tenasserim Division. Prior reports of portering have remained relatively small ranging from only few people to maximally 2 dozen. Continue reading “Unprecedented use of forced porters by Burmese army in Tenasserim Division”

Burmese junta already manipulating upcoming poll

Burma’s strongman, General Than Shwe, was more than happy to confirm that there will be an election in his country this year. The problem is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, the lack of a clear timeline for when the election will be held. Furthermore, none of the necessary laws and measures to make the upcoming poll transparent, free and fair have not been enacted.

The US State Department has made these points clearly, saying: “We have not seen any meaningful steps by the regime to indicate it is putting in place measures that would lead to credible elections. Much of the opposition’s leadership remains in prison, there is no space for political dissent or debate, and no freedom of the press. We continue to urge the Burmese government to address these issues and to engage (the main opposition leader) Aung San Suu Kyi and the democratic opposition, ethnic leaders and other stakeholders in a comprehensive dialogue on democratic reform. This would be a first step towards inclusive elections.”

Despite such a strong international appeal, the military regime is still stubborn. Obviously, the junta wants to ensure victory in the election because it would be disastrous if it loses again. In May 1990, the junta cheated in the polls and won by a supposed landslide against the opposition National League for Democracy, led by Suu Kyi. So, the regime will not make the same mistakes again. Continue reading “Burmese junta already manipulating upcoming poll”

Burma election could provoke a rise in refugees into Thailand and China

300 Burmese migrants who crossed illegally into Thailand have taken refuge next to mounds of garbage outside Mae Sot ahead of this year’s elections.

Aid groups are bracing themselves for a rise in refugees from military-ruled Burma into neighbouring Thailand and China before its first parliamentary elections in two decades, potentially straining ties with its neighbours and worsening crowded refugee camps in Thailand.
Some who fled to Thailand are living in dire conditions. In one settlement, about 300 migrants who crossed illegally into Thailand have taken refuge next to mounds of garbage outside Mae Sot, about three miles from the border. Continue reading “Burma election could provoke a rise in refugees into Thailand and China”