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Cablegate: Gob's Concerns Over August 7 Security Incident

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS RANGOON 000951

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV BM
SUBJECT: GOB'S CONCERNS OVER AUGUST 7 SECURITY INCIDENT

1. Post has received information from the Department that
uniformed Secret Service arrested 3 Burmese students at the
Burmese embassy the morning of August 7 after they tried to
use a ladder to remove the Burmese flag and replace it with
their own (a Burmese dissident report on the incident said
they were attempting to unfurl a banner from a balcony that
said "EXPEL THE AMBASSADOR NOW"). There is also a vigil
planned by the students for 8:00 p.m. on August 8. Post
understands that SS has beefed up security at the chancery
and the Ambassador's residence and that the Burmese will
request a permanent fixed post.

2. The COM was called to the Foreign Ministry late Friday
afternoon, August 8, to meet with the Director General for
Political Affairs. The reason for the summons was to
express the GOB's concern over the incident detailed below.
The DG confirmed that the Burmese Embassy was receiving a
response to their request for extra security but wanted to
reiterate the GOB's concern, especially as it relates to
the intrusion into diplomatic premises. The DG said they
could "deal with protests" but were worried that "things
could get out of hand". The COM assured the DG that the
U.S. Government took its responsibility for protecting
diplomatic missions with the utmost seriousness and that
she would relay the GOB's concern to the Department.

3. As frequently noted in post's reporting on security
issues, the GOB is very responsive to our requests for
ongoing security at the Chancery, the American Center, and
diplomatic residential compounds and they have responded
positively and quickly to requests for enhanced security
for special events. The GOB also provided a bodyguard
detail for the COM (and offered the same for other Embassy
senior officers) during the run-up to Iraq and until the
active fighting was declared over.

4. Action Request: Given the physical vulnerabilities of
our aging USG facilities here, we need continued GOB
cooperation on security issues. Post urges that GOB
requests for upgraded security be met with a timely
and effective response.
Martinez

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