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Burma’s Military Regime Labels Bush A Murderer

Burma’s Military Regime Labels Bush A Murderer


By Richard S. Ehrlich

BANGKOK, Thailand -- America's war on terrorism is an excuse allowing the "bloodthirsty murderer" to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, kill innocent people, and strip survivors of their human rights, according to Burma's military regime.
Burma's newest tirade against the United States comes amid a month-long campaign by the repressive, hermit nation which is desperately defending itself against Washington's attempt to bring Burma to the United Nations' Security Council for punishment.


Virtually daily throughout October, Burma has also condemned former Czech president Vaclav Havel and South Africa's retired archbishop Desmond Tutu for demanding the Security Council investigate widespread reports of forced labor, torture, opium production, child soldiers and mass rape in Burma.


Burma's economy has been shattered by U.S.-led international sanctions, widespread corruption among the military leadership, and a nonsensical use of "lucky numbers" to fix financial problems.


As a result, inflation is reeling, its kyat currency is depreciating, and the unelected junta has displayed increasing nervousness over American, British and other foreign attempts to pressure the generals to release Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent 10 of the past 16 years under house arrest.


The generals insist Suu Kyi, 60, must remain in detention so she cannot destabilize the country with demands that her National League for Democracy party be allowed to govern.


Her NLD party won a landslide election victory in 1990, which the regime refused to recognize by claiming that the military must oversee the writing of a new constitution before any politicians can take office.


After 15 years, no constitution has been written, partly because Suu Kyi has boycotted the drafting procedure, amid complaints that the document would endorse the military's right to rule and grant them immunity from prosecution.


Washington's current bid to put Burma in the UN Security Council's dock has caused jitters among the generals, as evidenced by the lengthy complaints in the government-controlled media.


Burma, also known as Myanmar, is majority Buddhist, a close ally of China, and mainland Southeast Asia's biggest country.


The regime's mouthpiece is its New Light of Myanmar newspaper, which publishes daily in English for domestic and international consumption.


"Behind the word 'anti-terrorism' is convincing evidence of all forms of suffering and adversities [which] the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq are experiencing," the paper said on Thursday (Oct. 27).


"Without knowing the hideouts of the terrorists at all, the invaders are using force to launch attacks in these nations at will, killing a great number of innocent people.


"So the word 'anti-terrorism' serves as an armor for bloodthirsty murderer and militarist," it said.


"'Human rights' and 'democracy' are two beautiful words the militarist bloc is widely applying to mislead the world's people about its invasion, and interference in the internal affairs of other nations, under the pretext of anti-terrorism."


Ironically, Burma warned against "the loss of all human rights of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan," while claiming that the Burmese military was enforcing law and order so human rights and democracy could flourish at home.


Al Qaeda-style, Islamist terrorist groups are not active within Burma.


But the regime has blamed "terrorists" for exploding a handful of small bombs in recent months in the capital, Rangoon, and points to Burma's minority ethnic guerrillas who have been fighting for autonomy or independence since British colonial rule ended after World War II.


Despite a lack of evidence, the generals have tried to link Suu Kyi indirectly to the bombings and occasional clashes between the military and the guerrillas, but she consistently claims her struggle for democracy is non-violent.


Burma earlier criticized U.S.-based DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, a legal services company, for helping Havel, and Nobel Peace laureate Tutu, publish their 70-page document titled, "Threat to the Peace: A Call for the UN Security Council to Act in Burma."


"There is no basis whatsoever to its claims," the foreign ministry said in a 1,270-word statement published in the New Light of Myanmar on Sept. 3.


"Myanmar has on several occasions officially denounced those allegations that it engages in rape, forced labor, child soldiers, refugees' outflow, forced relocation, etc.," the foreign ministry said.


Burma, ruled by the military since 1962, is among the world's worst abusers of human rights, according to London-based Amnesty International, the U.S. State Department and other monitors.


In January, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named Burma as one of the "outposts of tyranny" which must be challenged, along with Cuba, Belarus and Zimbabwe.

*****
Richard S. Ehrlich, a freelance journalist who has reported news from Asia for the past 27 years, is co-author of the non-fiction book, "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/

-ENDS-

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