Friday, July 10, 2009

Court News

** Suu Kyi’s Long Friday
** Yettaw Admitted to Prison Hospital
** Security Tightened as Suu Kyi Trial Resumes

Suu Kyi’s Long Friday

The Irrawaddy News

The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi spent over six hours in court during her trial on Friday as government prosecutors questioned a defense witness, according to Suu Kyi’s lawyer.

“The trial started at 10 am, broke for one-hour from 12 pm to 1 pm, and then continued from 1 pm until 5 pm—it was long trial,” said Nyan Win, a lawyer for Suu Kyi.

Nyan Win said most of the trial on Friday was spent by prosecutors and defense lawyers arguing over whether Law Section 22 charging Suu Kyi was still in effect. Section 22 was enacted under the 1974 constitution, but the constitution was abolished by the current regime after the coup in September 1988.

Section 22 of the law safeguards the state against the dangers of those desiring to cause subversive acts. Suu Kyi has been charged under this section by Burmese authorities for allowing the American intruder John W Yettaw to stay at her house while she was under house arrest.

“Prosecutors argued that the law is still effective. But we denied this was the case because the 1974 constitution was abolished in 1988,” Nyan Win said.

The defense witness, Khin Moe Moe, who is also a lawyer, testified at the court today in relation to Section 22.

Suu Kyi has only been allowed one defense witness in the case, as Win Tin and Tin Oo, who are leaders of the National League for Democracy, were banned from testifying.

According Nyan Win, the court has set July 24 for hearing final arguments in the case.

If she is found guilty, Suu Kyi could face up to five years imprisonment.

Burmese observers say the junta is prosecuting Suu Kyi to show the world that they will not tolerate any outside interference.

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Yettaw Admitted to Prison Hospital

The Irrawaddy News

John William Yettaw, the American accused of unlawfully seeking refuge in Aung San Suu Kyi’s home, has been admitted to hospital in Rangoon’s Insein Prison after declining food for 49 days, according to his lawyer, Khin Maung Oo.

The lawyer told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that Yettaw is being fed intravenously. He said the 53-year-old American, a Mormon, had existed for seven weeks on only water for religious reasons.

Khin Maung Oo said Yettaw told him the Bible had instructed him to travel to Rangoon to protect Suu Kyi from assassination. He had had a vision of Suu Kyi’s home, the lawyer said.

Yettaw has been charged with violating Burma’s security and immigration laws after he allegedly swim across Inya Lake and entered Suu Kyi’s house in May. If convicted, he faces a sentence of between six months and five years imprisonment.

Khin Maung Oo said that when Suu Kyi discovered Yettaw outside her home she told him to respect and comply with the rule of law in Burma. “She gave him refuge because he was very weak when she found him,” the lawyer said. Yettaw suffers from diabetes.

Khin Maung Oo said Yettaw had acted without financial or political backing. He was a devout Mormon, guided by his Bible.

Yettaw’s wife Yvonne told the US magazine Newsweek that her husband apparently suffered from untreated bipolar and posttraumatic stress disorders and regarded himself as a man sent by God to protect foreign leaders whom he esteemed.

Yettaw saw service in Vietnam and receives disability payments from the US Veterans Affairs office. He has been pursuing studies in psychology.

The Burmese junta claims a Burmese opposition group was behind Yettaw’s action.
(JEG's: and the opposition in exile and in burma claims the junta was behind Yettaw's actions, what a football match)

Burma’s police chief, Khin Yi, told journalists in Rangoon in June that the background to Yettaw’s intrusion needed more investigation.

Khin Yi said Yettaw had met with exiled and unlawful groups in Mae Sot before his last visit to Burma. The police chief accused him of receiving financial support from the groups.

Yettaw reportedly first visited Suu Kyi’s home unlawfully last November, and his family says he was still in debt for the expenses he incurred during that trip.

Before setting out for his second trip, Yettaw told his wife that he planned to visit Asia for a book he was writing, according to Newsweek magazine.

Burmese and Thai sources in Mae Sot, on the Thai-Burmese border, say he spent more than a month at a hotel in the town after his first visit to Rangoon. During this visit he managed to get in to Suu Kyi’s compound, but her companions prevented him from meeting her.

While he was in Mae Sot, people recalled Yettaw saying that he planned to return to visit Suu Kyi again. His second visit led to the fateful encounter with Suu Kyi in May, sources said. (JEG's: the right ears always attentive to capture junta's weapons)

In Mae Sot, Yettaw stayed at the Highland Hotel, where he spoke to several people about Burma and talked briefly about Suu Kyi. He openly told people about his first visit to her compound.

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Security Tightened as Suu Kyi Trial Resumes


Security was tightened around Rangoon’s Insein Prison on Friday as crowds gathered for the resumption of the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Barbed wire road blocks were set up, and armed riot police took up positions. “About 30 riot police trucks have been deployed around the prison and other police trucks are patrolling,” said one resident.

Despite the tightened security, about 100 Suu Kyi supporters gathered near the prison. They included Win Tin, a prominent leader of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in prison and facing unjust charges,” said one 24-year-old activist. “She could face unjust imprisonment soon. It would be irresponsible not to come here.”

NLD member Ohn Kyaing said the trial resumed on Friday morning and, after a break, was continuing in the afternoon. Khin Moe Moe, a defense witness, was scheduled to testify.

Suu Kyi is charged with violating the terms of her house detention order by allowing American intruder John W Yettaw to stay at her home. She could face up to five years imprisonment if the court finds her guilty.

Suu Kyi was arrested in May and put on trial as her latest term of house arrest was due to expire.

Burmese observers say Suu Kyi could face a prison sentence because the junta may want to show the world that it cannot accept any outside interference.

READ MORE---> Court News...

Khin Nyunt Appears in Public - (Prodemos: Something to watchout)

(He might be used as a broker with the ceasefire groups... radio work needed here)


Burma’s former premier and spy chief Gen Khin Nyunt, who was ousted and placed under house arrest in October 2004, recently appeared in public and appeared to be in good health, according to one Rangoon source.

Khin Nyunt appeared at the Rangoon home of a former Burmese minister, Brig-Gen Tint Shwe, on July 7 and asked about the funeral of the minister’s deceased wife, Khin San.

“He and his wife spent two hours at the former minister’s home. They looked healthy,” said the source.

Burmese tycoon Tay Za and other businessmen associated with Burmese junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe were also present, according to the source.

Since March 2008, Khin Nyunt and members of his family are occasionally allowed to move freely, usually to pagodas and other religious places. He and his family visited Shwedagon Pagoda last year.

According to unconfirmed reports, Khin Nyunt has often been summoned by Burmese generals to Burma’s new capital Naypyidaw to help them plan the 2010 general election and also for discussions on foreign policy issues.

While he was in power, Khin Nyunt was believed to have good relations with the ethnic armed groups, such as the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the Karen National Union (KNU)

In 2004, the year Khin Nyunt was ousted and charged with corruption, he had ceasefire talks in Rangoon with the late KNU leader Gen Bo Mya.

READ MORE---> Khin Nyunt Appears in Public - (Prodemos: Something to watchout)...

Foreign Investment in Burma: Analysing the statistics

by Derek Tonkin

(Mizzima News) -The article by Solomon in Mizzima on 6 July highlights the latest data about foreign investment in Burma. Perhaps I might try to interpret them from the perspective of a former investment director.

The figures quoted are taken from investments licensed by the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) set up under the 1988 Foreign Investment Law (FIL). However, it is not obligatory for foreign investors to invest under the FIL and many investments of US$ 250,000 to US$ 1 million made in SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) will have been made, quite legally, outside the FIL. The benefits of investment licensed by the MIC are mainly in the incentives and guarantees provided under the FIL. But investors in SMEs may well feel that the procedure for securing an MIC licence are time-consuming, and they are perfectly content to conclude investment contracts outside the FIL.

This particularly applies to Thai and Chinese entrepreneurs, but European investors with close connections in Burma or long residence there may well choose to invest in this way. This situation is not unique to Burma, but applies throughout South East Asia and further afield. The incentives available under the foreign investment legislation may be attractive to larger investors, but less so perhaps to smaller investors who recognise that profits and business expansion can only come through trading operations, and the sooner these start, the better. So the US$ 15 billion investment licensed by the MIC under the FIL is by no means the whole picture, and I would not be surprised if non-MIC authorised foreign investment were to be as great, though I simply do not know and am reluctant even to hazard a guess.

Another important qualification is that this US$ 15 billion is only approved, that is, contracted investment registered with the MIC. Realised or completed investment by its nature will not be as large, for a number of reasons. In the case of Western investment in the 1990s, notably in the oil, gas and extractive industries, funds actually invested in Burma appear to have been at least 80 per cent of contracted value, while the realisation of Asian investment appears to have been rather lower, perhaps as low as 60 per cent. In any case, contracted investment is frequently based on two or more phases of investment, and though the first phase may in due course be completed, delays in the second phase may occur, for market or funding reasons. However, the contracted total remains, and it is sensible to contract for all phases at the start because this avoids the need to apply for additional investment authority from the MIC should a second phase of investment not covered by the original licence be agreed at a later date. Furthermore, investments, although approved, may be deferred or abandoned.

A particular difficulty is pin-pointing the nationality of the beneficial owner. An investment made in Burma by a company incorporated in a particular country is not necessarily a guide to the nationality of the beneficial owner, unless the company is a well-known multinational. The preferred and recommended structure for an overseas investment in any country in South East Asia is through a single-purpose off-shore company which could be incorporated in jurisdictions as different as the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Luxembourg, Labuan, Delaware, Netherlands Antilles or Gibraltar. The BVI is especially popular, and though it is a British Overseas Territory, almost all current investments in Burma made by a company incorporated in the BVI do not have mainland UK beneficial interests, but are made by companies incorporated in such diverse countries as Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Russia, and Canada. However these BVI companies are registered with the MIC as "UK" because the BVI is a British Overseas Territory. In point of fact, mainland UK investment mostly by oil and gas companies in the 1990s has in almost all cases been sold on to other non-UK beneficial owners.

Investments made by companies incorporated in the BVI are rarely channelled through the BVI itself, and dividends and other financial operations connected with the investment in Burma are also generally handled outside the BVI. But such off-shore companies are invaluable for beneficial owners to "park" their equity (shareholding) for the tax advantages (which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction) and for flexibility in managing the share structure. Thus a Malaysian company using a BVI company to register its investment in Burma can without difficulty sell part of the equity of the BVI company to, say, a Singapore company without having to renegotiate the original foreign investment licence. When Rothmans of Pall Mall Singapore (owned by British-American Tobacco in the UK) were persuaded to pull out of Burma in 2003, it was only necessary for them to sell their holding in a Singapore Joint Venture company to their Singapore partners Distinction Investment Holdings. The Joint Venture in Burma with Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings, Rothmans of Pall Mall Myanmar, remained essentially unchanged and licensed production of "London" and "State Express 555" brands continued.

Countries in South East Asia have little alternative when reporting the sources of foreign investment but to note the location of the investing company, whose beneficial owners may well change within a very short time of signature of contract. This is particularly true where promotional entrepreneurs make an investment with the deliberate intention of selling on at a profit as soon as possible. They have the expertise in the market or in the sector, and investors will pay a premium for access to a well structured investment which is fully licensed.

So when you read that the UK and colonies have invested US$ 1.8 billion in Burma, I have no reason to contest that figure, but I would add that the beneficial mainland UK ownership of those investments today is in my estimate less than 1 per cent of that total. The UK Government discourages investment in Burma, but would be most reluctant to exert undue pressure on the BVI Government to confront companies from Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Russia and Canada which use BVI-based financial service facilities, the main source of the islands' GDP.

Derek Tonkin is the Chairman Beta Mekong Fund Limited 1994-2000

READ MORE---> Foreign Investment in Burma: Analysing the statistics...

Misinformation circulated on Suu Kyi’s trial

by Mizzima News

New Delhi (mizzima) - In a bid to disperse the crowd assembled outside the Insein prison in Rangoon, authorities spread false information that the court hearing of a defence witness in the trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was adjourned and that the court has fixed the next hearing on July 17.

Nyan Win, member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team, told Mizzima that the information was false. It was spread in order to keep at bay members of the National League for Democracy and its supporters, who crowded outside the Insein prison.

“I think the news was spread by those who are against us, in order to send away the waiting crowd outside the prison,” said Nyan Win adding that the court session went on for about seven hours.

Nyan Win also said the court has fixed July 24 for the hearing of the final argument from lawyers of both sides refuting the wrong date of July 17 rumored earlier in the day.

Nyan Win said on Friday that the district court in Insein prison heard the testimony of the second witness, Daw Khin Moe Moe, who is also a lawyer by profession and member of the National League for Democracy.

“The court adjourned at 5 p.m. (local time). Daw Khin Moe Moe testified. She was also cross examined by the prosecution lawyer,” Nyan Win said.

Meanwhile, at least 80 NLD members including veteran journalist Win Tin and supporters crowded outside Insein prison waiting for the trial. Mingling with the crowd, were riot police personnel and soldiers.

But after being told that the court session had been adjourned, that witness, Khin Moe Moe, did not testify and the next hearing had been fixed for July 17, supporters dispersed in the afternoon.

Phyu Phyu Thinn, an NLD youth member, who was among the crowd, said, “We were informed by a man that the court had adjourned and the next hearing is fixed for July 17. After that we all dispersed. I don’t know the man’s name.”

“All of us believed that the information was correct and left the prison precincts. But in the evening we learnt that the information was wrong, and was intended to make us leave,” she added.

Nyan Win said, “As we came out, several people asked whether the court had adjourned till July 17. It was false information spread by people who are against us.”

In the court on Friday, Khin Moe Moe argued that the 1974 Constitution of Burma is no longer effective and that the charges against the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate cannot be filed under the statutes of the 1974 Constitution.

But the prosecution argued that despite the changes in the regime, the 1974 Constitution is still valid.

“They tried to prove their stand with various government orders and documents, so it took a long time to conclude,” Nyan Win said.

Nyan Win said the defence team on Wednesday met Aung San Suu Kyi with a prepared 18-page final argument to be submitted to the court on July 24. Following the submission of the final argument, the court is likely to set another day to pronounce the final verdict.

Under the charges of violating the detention terms, if found guilty, the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi could face up to five years in prison.

Meanwhile, John William Yettaw, the American man who is also facing trial for taking refuge in Aung San Suu Kyi’s house, has been taken to hospital, reports said.

READ MORE---> Misinformation circulated on Suu Kyi’s trial...

Detained ethnic party leader suffering from leg swelling

By Hseng Khio Fah

(Shanland) -The leader of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), Burma’s second largest winning party in the 1990 elections, Khun Htun Oo, 66, has been suffering from the swelling of his legs due to lack adequate exercise and regular medical treatment, according to Sai Lake, the SNLD spokesperson.

SNLD leader Khun Htun Oo

In April, Khun Htun Oo was reported to have been suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.

Specialists, on consultation by his family, said it was also due to inadequate sunlight and ventilation.

However, he was refused to get medical checkup outside. He was only allowed to receive oral treatment. His family is allowed to visit him once a month.

But the family complains about difficulty of transportation to his place, Putao, the northernmost town in Burma. “There is scarcely any plane that flies to Putao even though we are allowed to send him some medicine,” one of his family members is quoted as saying.

“His family is worried if his conditions will get worse,” said Sai Lake.

Khun Htun Oo was sentenced to 93 year prison in Putao on 3 November 2005 along with 8 other Shan leaders for defamation of the state, association with illegal parties and conspiracy against the state.

READ MORE---> Detained ethnic party leader suffering from leg swelling...

Tourists in Burma not tested for H1N1

(DVB)–The thousands of tourists entering Burma each day across the Thai-Burma border are not being adequately checked for the A/H1N1 swine flu virus, say locals living near to border checkpoints.

Last month Burma confirmed its first case of A/H1N1, that of a 13-year-old girl who was diagnosed with the illness upon returning from Singapore.

According to state-run media in Burma, the girl has now recovered and was discharged from hospital on Thursday.

A hotel employee working on Thahtay Kyun island in the Andaman Sea south of Burma’s Tenasserim division said the casino receives about 150 visitors from Thailand each day.

However the nearby Burmese immigration checkpoint in Kawthaung is doing nothing to control the spread of the A/H1N1 virus, he said.

“The immigration in Kawthaung only checks for documents from the visitors but they don’t do anything to check for the influenza…apart from some medical assistants in the town briefly checking people coming in from [nearby] Ranong,” he said.

The lack of preventative measures were causing concern, he said, given the number of people in Thailand who have been diagnosed with the virus.

A Burmese business owner in Thai border town of Mae Sai, across from Tachilek town in Shan state, said that [Burmese] medical assistants sitting at the border checkpoints are only assessing those who looked sick.

“They do check people who look nauseous but not everyone,” he said.

A local in the Burmese border town of Myawaddy in Karen state, across from Mae Sot in Thailand, said there was also little change from the normal protocol of inspecting at the checkpoint there.

Reporting by Thurein Soe

READ MORE---> Tourists in Burma not tested for H1N1...

G8 leaders respond to Burma intransigence

(DVB)–Leaders of the world’s major industrialised nations have expressed concern about Burma’s unwillingness to respond to UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s diplomatic efforts during his recent visit to Burma.

The issue was brought up between Ban Ki-moon and British prime minister Gordon Brown on the sidelines of the annual Group of Eight (G8) summit, currently underway in Italy.

In a statement the G8 leaders “welcomed” Ban Ki-moon’s visit last week, which observers have said seemingly achieved little in the face of Burma’s unwavering military junta.

The statement spoke of shared concerns about the intransigence of the Burmese government, and said that G8 nations “will closely consult on our collective and individual response”.

No further details have been given, although Gordon Brown said following the UN chief’s visit that further sanctions on the regime were “on the international agenda”.

There has been no suggestion yet that the Burmese junta will meet any of Ban Ki-moon’s three principal requests, including the release of political prisoners and instigation of dialogue between the government and opposition groups.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is due back in the courtroom today for resumption of a trial that many believe will result in her being imprisoned beyond the elections next year.

Ban Ki-moon was twice denied a meeting with Suu Kyi, who is being held in a special unit inside Rangoon’s Insein prison where the trial is taking place.

“We reiterate our call on the Government of Myanmar [Burma] to release all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose continued detention would undermine the credibility of elections planned for 2010,” the G8 statement said.

Reporting by Francis Wade

READ MORE---> G8 leaders respond to Burma intransigence...

Karen armed group to fight ‘with guerilla warfare’

(DVB)–The Karen National Union will defend their territory “with guerrilla warfare” following rumours that the pro-junta Democratic Karen Buddhist Army is preparing to attack a strategic Karen base.

Last month Burmese troops, supported by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), took the Karen National Union (KNU) Brigade 7 base, an important victory for the Burmese government in its five-week long offensive.

Rumours have surfaced in recent days that the DKBA is set to attack the KNU Brigade 6 base, home to three battalions, although permanent bases have not existed there since 1997.

"I heard that [the DKBA] are preparing to fight with 600 people, but nothing particular has come out yet,” said KNU joint secretary, Saw Maw Htoo.

“As we have more than 60 years of experience, the KNU has always been alert and prepared. Now we have to be more prepared; we are ready to resist with guerrilla warfare."

The conflict between the KNU and the Burmese government is thought to be the world’s longest running, although observers say the weakening of the KNU and the loss of its Brigade 7 base could spell its end.

Around 80,000 Karen refugees have fled the conflict and are now holed-up in camps along the Thai border.

Numbers have swelled since the beginning of June, following the latest offensive which caused around 5000 to cross the border into Thailand.

"DKBA and [Burmese army] troops are positioned everywhere all along the border,” said Saw Maw Htoo, adding that KNU troops were active in these areas.

“We have our people all around the area, and they don't know where to fight. They come in, we go out; we go out and they come in."

A deputy strategist from the DKBA’s Brigade 999, Saw Maung Win, claimed to know nothing of the attack rumours.

However a source close to the DKBA, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a joint DKBA force from Battalions 555 and 333 have gone to Taungoo and Nyaunglebin in Karen state to attack KNU camps.

"They went there because of an order from the top,” he said, adding that he did not know whether the order came from senior DKBA or army officials.

Reporting by Naw Noreen

READ MORE---> Karen armed group to fight ‘with guerilla warfare’...

Russian Mine to Supply Uranium to Junta?

The Irrawaddy News

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s controversial two-day trip to military-ruled Burma to discuss the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and conditions in the country prior to the 2010 elections has been widely criticized as a failure. Eight previous diplomatic visits by UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari also failed to dent the intransigence of the military regime.

However, the reason for the UN’s inability to effect positive change in Burma has less to do with these failed diplomatic visits than with the remaining obstacles at the UN Security Council.

Conventional wisdom suggests that China’s permanent seat on the Security Council and its policy of non-interference in Burma, a policy no doubt underscored by Chinas well-documented interest in maintaining access to Burma’s natural resources, has prevented effective UN action on Burma.

Much less attention, however, has been paid to the obstacle posed by Russia. Like China, Russia has a permanent seat on the Security Council and also blocked a 2007 UN draft resolution that would have applied enormous pressure on the regime. Russia also has interests in Burma’s natural resources, and perhaps in cooperating with the regime’s increasingly public nuclear ambitions.

Since 2006, I have been monitoring an iron ore mining project unfolding around my village in a remote ethnic Pa-O area in war torn Shan State, led by the state-owned Russian company Tyazhpromexport.

The company has invested upwards of US$150 million and is constructing an iron processing plant only 10 kilometers from the Burmese Army’s Eastern Command. This command is responsible for fighting in several areas of Shan State, and Burmese army soldiers have raped, beaten, mutilated, tortured and murdered civilians in their ongoing suppression of ethnic minorities. I, my colleagues, and other organizations have documented these abuses.

The Russian processing plant, which is sited in the Hopone Valley located at the east of the Shan State capital of Taunggyi, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. It is equipped with underground bunkers and is surrounded by two ten-feet-high cement walls and barbed wire.

The direct impact of the project has already been severe: 55 people have been forcibly relocated out of three villages to make way for the factory, and 11,000 acres of farmlands have been confiscated by local authorities on behalf of the company. Complaints by the villagers to local government offices were summarily dismissed.

Preparations for the first of a series of open pit mines in the area by Tyazhpromexport have also begun. Barring a radical change in the way the regime and its corporate partners do business, the forced relocation of approximately 7,000 ethnic Pa-O people living directly around the site is all but certain.

Erosion and the release of mining waste into our main water source, the Thabet Stream, is also a serious concern. This would affect 35,000 people downstream. The company is already diverting the stream to their factory, leading to unusually low water levels this year.

However, there is an even more serious aspect to this operation. In May 2007, one year after Tyazhpromexport declared its involvement in the iron ore project, Russia’s atomic energy agency Rosatom announced that it had reached a deal for cooperation with the Burmese regime on a nuclear program. No further information about this nuclear cooperation has been made public, but suspicions are rife that it is linked to the Hopone Valley mining project.

Local people in my community are worried. Uranium occurs naturally alongside iron ore and the military regime’s Ministry of Energy has acknowledged the existence of uranium deposits in Burma. Extreme travel restrictions have been imposed against local people by the Burma Army around the iron project, and there has been an almost complete lack of public information about the project, to a degree unusual even for the reclusive Burmese regime. Local villagers have quietly heard from staff insiders that the factory will be used to process both iron and uranium.

The Burmese regime’s nuclear ambitions are no secret. For years it has been sending students to Russia to study nuclear technology, and it has normalized relations with North Korea, the world's problem child playing with nuclear arms, despite a problematic history between the two nations. Recently, The US tracked a North Korean ship that was thought to be headed for Burma’s shores with arms and ammunitions, in violation of a UN Security resolution against Pyongyang. The vessel turned around and returned to North Korea.

Japanese authorities arrested three men in June for allegedly attempting to send weapons-making technology to Burma at the behest of North Korean agents, and photos have been distributed showing an intricate tunnel system throughout Burma being constructed with North Korea’s help. The idea that a Russian firm might be quietly mining uranium in the country is by no means so far-fetched.

Whatever the case, the widespread human rights abuses connected to the project are no less worrying.

We don’t expect Ban Ki-moon’s visit to change our plight in any significant way. What is really needed is a way to subvert the so-called policies of “non-interference” at the UN Security Council so it can do its job to protect against the military regime’s ongoing threats to international peace and security.

Khun Chan Khe is an ethnic Pa-O and the General Secretary of the Thailand-based Pa-O Youth Organization (PYO). Recently the PYO released firsthand documentation on the Russian-led mining project in a report entitled “Robbing the Future.”

READ MORE---> Russian Mine to Supply Uranium to Junta?...

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