SECRETARY-GENERAL NOTES ANNOUNCEMENT ELECTIONS TO BE HELD IN MYANMAR 7 NOVEMBER, STRONGLY URGES RELEASE OF ALL REMAINING POLITICAL PRISONERS WITHOUT DELAY The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: The Secretary-General has taken note of the announcement by the Union Election Commission of Myanmar that general elections will be held on 7 November 2010. The Secretary-General reiterates his call on the Myanmar authorities to honour their publicly stated commitments to hold inclusive, free and fair elections in order to advance the prospects of peace, democracy and development for Myanmar. As essential steps for any national reconciliation and democratic transition process, the Secretary-General strongly urges the authorities to ensure that fundamental freedoms are upheld for all citizens of Myanmar and to release all remaining political prisoners without delay so that they can freely participate in the political life of their country.
Day: August 16, 2010
At UN, Aung San Suu Kyi absent from Ban’s Statement & Myanmar Sham Election
UNITED NATIONS, August 13 — In the wake of the Myanmar military government’s announcement it will hold what was quickly called its “sham” election on November 7, with Aung San Suu Kyi still under house arrest, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon or his Myanmar adviser, Vijay Nambiar, had any comment. Video here, from Minute 3:47.
At first, Nesirky had nothing to say. Later in the day’s noon briefing, a statement was brought to Nesirky. When he read it out, it had no mention of Aung San Suu Kyi, the long imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner who declined to meet with Ban’s previous Myanmar adviser Ibrahim Gambari.
Inner City Press asked, does Mr. Ban believe that Aung San Suu Kyi should be able to participate in the election? Videohere, from Minute 9:34.
“That’s what it says,” Nesirky replied, pointing at the canned “Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary General” that he had just read.
But the statement didn’t mention Aung San Suu Kyi.
US-Swiss drilling company Tranoscean has admitted it is under investigation by the US Treasury
Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – US-Swiss drilling company Tranoscean has admitted it is under investigation by the US Treasury over its “operations in Myanmar [Burma]”. The probe comes amid intense public scrutiny since its rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico.
Since the explosion on Tranoscean’s rig in April caused America’s worst oil spill, the company hired by BP has acknowledged in its latest regulatory 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) it had “recently received an administrative subpoena” from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regarding its “operations in Myanmar [Burma]”. The filing was submitted on August 4.
The 10-Q form, is an SEC filing that must be submitted quarterly with the SEC and contains similar information to the annual 10-K form, however the information is generally less detailed, and the financial statements are generally unaudited.
The subpoena from the US government’s sanctions enforcement division came after Mizzima first reported in May, that Transocean’s US regulatory filings showed the firm was hired late last year to do drilling work in Burmese waters co-owned by a company controlled by Stephen Law, a junta crony businessman alleged by the US government and analysts to be a major drug-money launderer.
“OFAC’s administrative subpoena authority”, according to the US Treasury department’s website, “generally provides the basis for OFAC to require the production of whatever additional information it may require to assess its enforcement response to the apparent violation”. As a subpoena is not voluntary, failure to comply with such an administrative writ is a serious violation.
Mizzima’s report of Transocean’s ties with a blacklisted Burmese narcotics-trafficking clan was picked up in a front page story in The New York Times, which also detailed the firm’s questionable practices in Iran, Norway and Syria.
Wong Aung, an observer of Burma’s natural resource sector and international co-ordinator for the Shwe Gas Movement, a coalition of Burmese organisations opposed to offshore gas drilling in the country’s ecologically sensitive coastal regions, is pleased the US government has listened to calls to investigate Transocean’s shady dealings in Burma.
He believed it was “inconceivable that Transocean was unaware” that the oil and gas rights in the waters they were drilling in were co-owned by Burma’s infamous Law family. Stephen Law, aka Tun Myint Naing, his Singaporean wife, and his “narco warlord” father are all on OFAC blacklists, officially called the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. All three are also listed in similar European Union travel bans and sanctions lists.
Transocean International’s corporate 8-K filing with the SEC on November 2 showed that Chinese state-run energy company CNOOC hired Transocean’s semi-submersible Actinia, a Panamanian-registered drilling rig, to operate in Burma from October to December.
According to the CNOOC website, all of the firm’s stakes in Burma’s gas industry are held in partnership with China Focus Development (formerly known as Golden Aaron) and China Global Construction, with CNOOC as the operator. China Focus Development is a privately owned Singapore-registered firm whose sole shareholders are Stephen Law and his wife, Ng Sor Hong, aka Cynthia Ng. The US and EU sanctions list show Ng Sor Hong to be chief executive of the firm, which is also among more than a dozen companies controlled by Law on the OFAC blacklist of banned Burma-related entities.
Law’s Sino-Burmese father Lao Sit Han, aka Lo Hsing Han, is believed by US drug-trafficking analysts to have controlled one of Southeast Asia’s best-armed narcotics militias during the 1970’s. After coming to an understanding with the Burmese regime, Lao Sit Han moved to Rangoon where he reportedly used the profits from his drug empire to expand into other areas including operating ports through the family controlled Asia World, a US blacklisted firm over which Lao Sit Han is chairman.
Stephen Law is the managing director of Asia World and is believed to be the driving force behind what has become of one of Burma’s largest conglomerates. As well as running Burma’s largest deepwater port, the firm owns lucrative toll highways, hotels and is also involved in many construction projects, including building Rangoon’s Traders Hotel and refurbishing the Rangoon airport.
According to a Febuary 2008 statement by the US Treasury department: “In addition to their support for the Burmese regime, Steven Law and Lo Hsing Han have a history of involvement in illicit activities.”
“Lo Hsing Han, known as the ‘Godfather of Heroin’, has been one of the world’s key heroin traffickers dating back to the early 1970s. Steven Law joined his father’s drug empire in the 1990s and has since become one of the wealthiest individuals in Burma,” the Treasury statement said. Continue reading “US-Swiss drilling company Tranoscean has admitted it is under investigation by the US Treasury”
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