03 October, 2007

Burma, media fatigue, and the New Killing Fields (2007 version)

All's quiet on the Eastern Front.
Well, unfortunately, that isn't so. It's more like the "Silence of the Lambs". Now that Media Fatigue on the topic of Burma (Myanmar) has set in, the Burmese Military can set about their really gory business without fear. The world's cameras are focussed on nicey-poo pictures of properly-dressed people smiling and shaking hands.

Yep, patience and restraint (as recommended by the Dis-United Nations) have sure paid off for Burma's SPDC (State "Peace and Development" Council). Thousands of people have been disappeared in recent days, and hundreds of monks confirmed slaughtered. Look at mizzima.com in a new window here.

Take a moment to sign this PETITION to ASEAN to take immediate action.
(avaaz.org; the link opens in a new window)

And here's a recent email from an angry but terrified Burmese citizen:

We just got a phone call from our sister in Yangon. BBC says that 200 monks were arrested. The true picture is far worse! A troop of mercenary riot police protected by military trucks raided a monastery in Yangon today. They systematically ordered all monks to line up and banged and crushed their heads against a brick wall. One by one, the peaceful, non-resistant monks fell to the ground screaming in pain. Then they tore off the red robes and threw them all in the military trucks like rice bags and took the bodies away. The head monk was tied up in the middle of the monastery, tortured and bludgeoned. He died the same day. Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the monastery, warded off by troops with bayoneted rifles, unable to help their helpless monks being slaughtered inside. When it was all over, only 10 out of 200 remained alive, hiding in the monastery. Please tell the full extent of the fate of monks, please! ‘Arrested’ is not enough expression. They have been bludgeoned to death!”
PS: As a flashback to further confirm the uncaring attitude of Burma's military, click here to see my article about the 2006 wedding of a daughter of Than Shwe, the Burmese dictator. The wedding presents alone were worth US$50 million, money I imagine he now wishes he now had. This self-indulgent waste, at a time when Burma's 47 million poor are being traumatized into submission and poverty.

In the link above, there's a link to a video, secretly filmed and smuggled out of Burma, obviously by a disgruntled insider who seeks to discredit the regime. Rightly so. In fact, it's beginning to look like a mutiny within the ranks of the military could be the only solution. China can't be relied on to act as they are hardly in a position to preach about instilling democracy, and it is in their economic interests to see Burma collapse. And the US Military, with their satellite "eyes-in-the-sky" capable of reading car number-plates, is loudly silent about the mass slaughter in Burma. But then, we know the USA doesn't support democracy or freedom - it supports corporate profit-making ventures.

On that score, Thailand is very compliant with the genocide by failing to denounce the SPDC. In fact, Thailand's own military coup leader General Sonthi has effectively come out in support (!) of the Burmese military murderous tactics. It's not so much a case of 'birds-of-a-feather' but more that Thailand has too much over-the-border trade at stake to criticize Burma too loudly as ASEAN has [gently] suggested. Thailand quietly continues to purchase natural gas from Burma in the deal set up by no less than [wait for it...] Thaksin Shinawatra. A full 20% of Thailand's electricity is still generated by Burmese natural gas.

As if that weren't enough of an insult, do you realize that western oil companies are still trading with the Burmese military? Read on...

You can take direct action yourself, if you choose. Why not sign this online PETITION (avaaz.org, opening in a new window) to help end this sordid trade in human lives and dignity. These companies are CHEVRON, which owns Caltex, Texaco & Unocal, and TOTAL, which owns Elf & Fina. They have been operating the Yadana natural gas pipeline in southern Burma since the early '90s.The junta takes in an estimated $450 million a year from the Yadana project alone -- and uses that money to maintain its brutal control, while most people in Burma live in dire poverty. To keep their profits flowing, Chevron and Total lobby hard in the U.S. and Europe AGAINST government measures to support a democratic transition in Burma.

Thailand's Thaksin Shinawatra and Burma's Than Shwe plotting Burma's natural gas contract with Thailand in August 2006.

Thaksin doesn't care about Burma any more - he's comfortably set up in his luxury English mansion with his family and suck-hole hangers-on. One of his last missions as PM/CEO of Thailand was to sign up his own company to transport natural gas from Burma.

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