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American Embassy In Burma Attracts Junta's Ire

American Embassy In Burma Attracts Junta's Ire


by Richard S. Ehrlich

BANGKOK, Thailand -- The military regime in Burma has targeted the American Embassy in Rangoon, and one of the embassy's female Burmese staffers, because U.S. and British diplomats met opposition politicians whose leader is the world's most famous political prisoner, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi has been locked under house arrest inside her dreary, two-story, lakeside mansion for 11 of the past 16 years.

Her National League for Democracy Party won a landslide election victory in 1990, but the regime does not want her to rule the Southeast Asian nation.

The military junta in Burma, a Buddhist-majority country also known as Myanmar, unleashed its anger at the American Embassy in a chilling, personalized complaint in the government-run newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar.

"Diplomats and staff of the American Embassy have visited the NLD HQ (National League for Democracy headquarters) almost every day, sending letters and holding discussions more than 130 times from January to July, 2006," the paper said on Wednesday (August 23).

"In doing so, Daw Shwe Sin Nyunt, a staff member of the information department of the U.S. Embassy, always accompanies those diplomats. She also visits the NLD HQ alone many times, to send the embassy's instructions and take whatever feedback the NLD gives.

"Thirty-seven-year-old Daw Shwe Sin Nyunt, the daughter of U Nyunt Pe and Daw Khin May Chaw, is married, and served in the culture department of French Embassy after she had left the University of Economics as a second year student in 1989.

"Since December 23, 2005, she has been working for the information department of the U.S. Embassy. She now lives at No. 4, 2nd Street, Shwegondine Ward West, Bahan Township," the paper said.

Burma's unelected regime frequently lashes out at the U.S., Britain and other foreign countries for supporting Suu Kyi's quest for democracy, and has criticized American politicians, diplomats and others by name.

This is the first time it has publicly named, blamed and shamed a Burmese citizen employed by the U.S. Embassy.

The government said it was publishing these latest "news reports with photos, to expose those diplomats and staff, as well as the NLD, for their violation of the diplomatic code of conduct and inappropriate acts."

The generals who run Burma are angry at America because Washington has led calls for international economic sanctions against the country -- while Washington finances Burmese dissidents in Thailand, Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.

Suu Kyi, 61, and her party have been weakened by repeated arrests.

She remains extremely popular, however, throughout the impoverished, hermit country despite the government's frequent description of her as a "puppet" of foreign powers which are anxious to exploit Burma's vast natural resources.

Burma was a British colony until 1948, and London is also perceived as meddling in the country's internal affairs.

"Diplomats and staff of the British Embassy frequented the NLD HQ, and sent letters and instructions to it about 30 times from January to July 2006," the government's official mouthpiece said.

Burma's dissidents are supported by foreign "Members of Parliament and diplomats of the West, CIA agents under the guise of NGOs (non-government organizations) and white, terrorist, course instructors," it said.

The racial reference apparently points to a handful of Caucasian mercenaries who occasionally surface after offering free, or inexpensive, military training to minority ethnic Karen guerrillas fighting a 55-year-long, losing war for autonomy or independence along Burma's eastern border with Thailand.

Burma also castigated former U.S. Congressman Stephen J. Solarz, who became a consultant advising foreign governments in their relations with the United States, and helped set up the International Crisis Group, according to the Development Executive Group where he is on the board of advisors.

In the 1980s, Solarz supported Cambodian guerrillas fighting to end the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia -- a strategy widely condemned because jungle-based Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge benefited from an indirect alliance with the U.S.-backed rebels against the Vietnamese.

The New York-based Burma Peace Foundation and its head, David Arnott, were also named. The foundation has campaigned for the unconditional release of Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi, and favors crippling Burma with economic sanctions.

In a time-warp lapse by the generals, they also heaped abuse U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whose "Moynihan amendment" toughened economic sanctions -- but he died in 2003.

Solarz, Arnott, Moynihan and others "are producing and nurturing the expatriates" who fled Burma and now plot to overthrow the regime, it said.

The U.S. government-funded, cash-awarding National Endowment for Democracy and others were also named for sinisterly interfering in Burma.

*************

Copyright by Richard S. Ehrlich, who has reported news from Asia for the past 28 years, and is co-author of the non-fiction book of investigative journalism, "HELLO MY BIG BIG HONEY!" Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews. His web page is http://www.geocities.com/asia_correspondent

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