HOW TO STAGE A COUP

By JULIEN MOE

When you are in the army, you have sworn in to serve the army. When you are sworn in to serve the army, you are serving your country. When you are serving your country, you should know that it means you are serving your fellow country men and women. You are not sworn in to serve the generals who are now putting the nation on the verge of economic collapse and anarchy. They are corrupted by power and the whole nation is now suffering due to their mismanagement and misrule. It is your responsibility to eliminate the leaders who cannot lead your army, your country and your people. Therefore, now is the time for you to think what you should do to help rebuild your army and your nation. The first thing you need to do is to form a military secretariat and choose colonels to mount acoup. When forming a military secretariat, you have to select the colonels you know like the back of your hand. You have to know them inside and out. You have to make sure that a colonel you select is the one who wants to participate in the coup. You have to make sure that he is the one who wants to change the status quo. You have to investigate his background, his motives and his intentions. It is necessary that you investigate his relations with superior officers. Is he a colonel loyal to General Thura Shwe Mahn? If so, he may inform the general of the coup plot and sabotage the coup plot. You cannot choose a colonel whose loyalty to a superior officer is unequivocal. Participating in a coup is not as easy as counting peas. It is risking everything you have. You are doing this at your own risk. You will be hanged like Ohn Gyaw Myint if they find it out. Ohn Gyaw Myint did not know how the information got out about the coup plot. He did not organize the coup properly. He did not inform the U.S. Embassy of his need for help. He went to the U.S. Embassy only when the coup plot failed and he was about to be arrested.

Anything can happen even before you start a coup attempt. While organizing a coup or even in the middle of forming a military secretariat, things can go wrong due to a wrong move. If you have chosen a wrong officer, you are done for even before you start a coup attempt. Try to know the colonels you choose. Know their affiliations. Choose a colonel who is respected by young officers. When communicating about the coup, never talk on the phone. Meet in secret places. Use codes at all times. Be subtle. Don’t be obvious.

Intelligence is one key factor that comes into a successful coup. Collect intelligence about the generals, their meetings and where they will be on the day of the coup. You need to know who are the security forces guarding these generals. On the day of the coup, you need troops to go and arrest these generals. If you are confronted by the security forces, you must use your troops to shoot and kill them. If you can contain all generals in a conference at the same time, it is easy. But do not hope that it will happen and it may be more difficult. Containing them at their residences is much easier than at a military headquarters. The coup plan has to be exercised again and again to make sure nothing goes wrong. Groups must be formed to take responsibilities. Eight groups may be responsible to arrest eight generals and the other group to occupy the national television and radio station to announce the successful coup.

It will not be easy but it is worth trying. Today you are colonels. Tomorrow you will become Major-Generals. Do it and the people of Burma need you to change the course of history of Burma. The international community is also with you.

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REALITY CHECK ON BURMA UNDER SPDC’S FASCIST RULE

The Gap

By Julien Moe

11/5/2010

Burma is Myanmar today. Myanmar is the new name given by the military junta led by General Than Shwe. But what is going on in Myanmar today?

I interviewed three Burmese citizens who just came back from Myanmar. The interview took place in Washington D.C.  I will protect their identities and call them Interviewees 1, 2 and 3.

 

Interviewee 1 is a 45 year old-lady who went to visit Myanmar two weeks ago. She said here is a big gap between the have-nots and the rich. There is no such thing as a middle class any more. The rich are too rich and the poor are too poor to feed themselves. There are more homeless and beggars in Myanmar than before. She said, “I went to visit Pagan, the ancient historic Burmese city. I saw homeless beggars everywhere. I bought a bag of rice and curry with a soda. I gave it to one of the beggars and she thanked me as if she won a lottery.” Food in Myanmar is scarce and all the military regime cares about is their hold on to power.

I asked Interviewee 2 a few questions about the rich in Yangon formerly Rangoon.  Interviewee 2 is a 45 year-old business woman who has just come back from the Golden Valley, after visiting her relatives.

She said, “Property inside Golden valley costs a fortune these days. A brick house with a 100 ft x 80 ft square fenced yard is about US$1 million. A brick house with a bigger compound on the Golden Valley main Road is about US$10 million in the market now. People have too much money. They are the rich.”

Interviewer 3 is a 43 year-old Burmese student who took part in the 1988 uprising and he went to visit Myanmar last month and he said, “The rich in Burma are the authorities and the officials from the army and the drug traffickers. The authorities get paid by the drug traffickers. They get paid by illegal loggers. The drug business and the illegal logging business are booming in Myanmar.”  He went on talking about politics in Myanmar. The regime has bribed the farmers and the citizens in the country, by paying each one US$5 to vote for the party members from the USDA Party and the National Unity Party, the political parties whose members are from the military junta.”

He went to visit Bago, a city 2 hours away from Yangon by bus. He saw the people starving there. “Many people there can afford to eat only one meal per day and they keep the Sabbath. It’s like shooting two birds with one stone. They get a good merit because they keep the Sabbath and don’t eat dinner. In fact, they cannot afford dinner.”

He went to visit Pioneer, a nightclub and saw army officials drinking Chevas Regal, Black Label and tequila. They were having fun with prostitutes there throughout the night. They seem to have forgotten they are Burmese and they are from the Burmese army founded by General Aung San.”

This is Myanmar today.

THE BURMESE GENERALS’ PARANOIA AGAINST THE UNITED STATES

Written and Edited

By Julien Moe

Editor – BurmaWatchUSA

 

The regime ruling Burma by force can be called a fascist paranoid junta because the Burmese army has been eliminating the Karens and the Shans who are the non-Burmese ethnic nationalities in Burma and simultaneously the generals fear an American invasion all the time. If the Burmese revolutionary students and the ethnic groups struggling for freedom and democracy in Burma need an international culprit to blame, it is China, Burma’s neighbor helping the generals out for decades. China is making the Burmese generals feel safe. On the other hand the Chinese support for the military regime is necessary for China because Burma is seen as a bridge of strategy towards Southeast Asia. As a matter of fact, Burma has been benefiting China economically as businesses pour into Burma from Yunnan Province. Chinese products enter Burma via Yunnan Province. Burma has granted China major oil and gas concessions recently. Western intelligence sources say that Chinese lawmakers have been pressuring the generals to finish the National Convention as soon as possible. The reason is to make sure the regime in Burma is legitimized by the so-called National Charter. The Burmese generals believe the so-called National Convention will ensure their power base. Fact is the Burmese generals are paranoid and live in fear every day. And China is the only shield that could protect them from the West.

The irony is that the Burmese army is not in love with China in terms of arms and ammunitions and products manufactured in China. According to a reliable source that has been making research about the Burmese military brass for more than 10 years, the generals find no taste in Chinese goods. The generals were forced to buy Chinese arms and ammunitions at cheap prices. One of the colonels working for General Khin Nyunt, former Chief of Military Intelligence said, “Actually we have no way of getting American arms and ammunitions because of sanctions and so we import Chinese arms from China.” Restrooms in the former headquarters of the Office of Chief of Military Intelligence at Junction 8 are equipped with ‘American Standard’ sanitary products. The Burmese generals are paranoid about an American invasion and intelligence operations conducted by intelligence agencies of the United States Government. China has been a neighboring superpower and the closest master and shield for protection against America. Naturally the Burmese generals rely on China. Whenever the joint military exercises called Cobra Gold are conducted in Thailand between the Royal Thai and United States Armed Forces in May, the Burmese generals are alarmed. Whenever some U.S. troops are spotted along the Thai-Burmese border, the generals are alarmed and the colonels at Sa-ya-kha, Military Affairs Security Agency in Naypyidaw are busy day and night, doing research on the troops’ movement and their purpose of being there.

After the 9/11 terrorist strikes by Al-Qaida, the United States Department of State decided to move its embassy from 581 Merchant Street which is located in the heart of Rangoon to University Avenue, citing security reasons. According to the map of the new embassy compound, the embassy is way bigger than the one at 581 Merchant Street. The generals ruling Burma by force were warned by General Khin Nyunt and his spy agency about the U.S. Government’s intelligence operations in Southeast Asia. General Khin Nyunt had reliable double agents working for him and the U.S. Government’s intelligence agencies too. General Khin Nyunt knew that the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand is the largest U.S. intelligence operations headquarters in Asia. The American Embassy in Bangkok has Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), extending their operations in Asia. Their major targets are only two countries: China and Burma. When the USG started to build the new American Embassy with more space and facilities on University Avenue, the Burmese generals were reminded of what General Khin Nyunt told them about the USG’s intelligence operations in Asia. The generals have been originally paranoid about everything including the American invasion. Thus, equipped with the knowledge of the USG’s intelligence operations from Bangkok, Thailand targeting Burma, the generals took building a bigger and more efficient embassy in their backyard as a sign of aggression. And they took off to Naypyidaw, fearing Washington’s spy game. Many analysts have wrongly said that one of the major reasons why the generals moved the capital city to Naypyidaw is that they fear that an uprising will occur in Rangoon, Burma. It is not true that the generals moved for that reason. The Burmese army is well prepared to counter or put down an uprising. The army has rendered the responsibility to the Burmese police forces. Leave alone allowing another uprising occurs. Both the Burmese police and Sa-ya-fa, the Military Affairs Security Forces (MASF) have been watching the suspected political dissidents who have been involved in the 1988 uprising and who may have a hand to mobilize another one. The Chinese agreed with the Burmese generals who decided to move the capital city to Pyinmana. As far as intelligence upgrades are concerned, the Burmese army relies on China and Russia according to a colonel working now for Sa-ya-kha, Military Affairs Security Agency (MASA), the new military intelligence branch headed by General Ye Myint, former Commander of Mandalay Division. MASA was formerly headed by the then Major General Myint Swe who is now a Lieutenant General.

Before General Khin Nyunt, former Chief of Military Intelligence, was ousted in October, 2004, the Burmese army had sent over 800 military officers to Russia to study nuclear sciences. In 2005 about 300 military officers were sent to Moscow to study nuclear sciences for the nuclear reactor in Magwe. General Maung Aye has been a major decision maker for the nuclear projects in Burma and so far there have been 2000 academics and army officers getting sent to Russia for intensive trainings. In General Khin Nyunt’s era, Office of Chief of Military Intelligence (OCMI) was efficient and capable of infiltrating dissident groups and even the CIA at the American Embassy in Rangoon was letting General Khin Nyunt know what the UWSA was doing in his backyard with DEA without the knowledge of the Burmese government. There was even a fight between CIA and DEA about Burmese politics.

Today Ta-sa-ta, Institute of Military Affairs Security at Yay-kyi-ai, the birthplace of military intelligence, is now training hundreds of military intelligence officers to arm Sa-ya-hta, Military Affairs Security Department and Sa-ya-fa, Military Affairs Security Forces. And the Burmese generals’ paranoia continues.

 

DATA ON ARMS TRANSFER TO BURMA

At the end of December 2009, Ministry of Defense of the military regime in Burma reportedly signed a $571 million contract with Russia’s Rosoboronexport for 20 MiG-29D fighters. Burma’s air force ordered 12 MiG-29s from Russia in 2001, to supplement a fleet of mostly Chinese F-7 (MiG-21 copy) and J-6/ Q-5 (MiG-19 copy and heavily modified MiG-19 derivative) fighters. The military regime is also cooperating with Russia to build a nuclear power plant reportedly with low enriched (fewer than 20% U-235) uranium. Russia has been No. 1 Country of the Security Council Members of the United Nations that has always vetoed laws to punish Burma for human rights and political rights violations. Upon the completion of the said contract Burma will have owned 32 MiG-29s.

In the mean time, Russia, China and North Korea are unequivocal supporters and kitchen cabinets of the military brass hats in Burma. Sources from Australia say Burma’s military brass hats want to join an Australian-led nuclear safety body despite reports that Burma is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. North Korea is known to have sold Burma surface-to-air missiles and other missile technology.

Source: DID

WHERE LAW ENDS, TYRANNY BEGINS

By Ethan Bourne

Burma is a country ruled by successive generals who were not elected by the Burmese.  Burma’s generals often quote the selected laws from the constitution when they want to protect their actions of arbitrary arrests, imprisonment and many other human rights violations. Whenever the term of house arrest for Aung San Suu Kyi, their most feared opposition leader, was about to be completed, they always found a piece of law to extend her detention.  Warrants to search citizens’ houses were never necessary and they were never provided by judges. The warrants were in the hands of the military brass hats.  Arrest warrants were never issued and produced to the suspects.  Any Burmese citizen can be stopped and arrested by the military under suspicion.

Freedom of speech and freedom of press are threats to the brass hats and so they will arrest and deter any individual involved in the act of blowing the lid off their human rights violations. A Burmese court has sentenced Hla Hla Win, DVB’s journalist to 20 years’ imprisonment.  Kyaw Zaw Lwin, a human rights activist has been accused of terrorist acts and detained in a solitary confinement.

Based on the facts mentioned above, one can see there is no leniency towards the democratic opposition. How can elections to be held in 2010 be free and fair? The Obama Administration should be cautious about the Burmese generals and prescribe terms and conditions suitable for the current Burmese situation as soon as possible. On the whole Burma is a country where there is no law and where tyranny begins. Burma’s generals should not be treated as the democratic opposition of the Burmese. They are just tyrants who do fear law, freedom and democracy.

BURMA TUNNEL INTEL

September 12, 2009

BURMA TUNNEL  INTEL

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Sources from Burma told BurmaWatchUSA that the informant who took photos of the tunnel construction project and sold them to the West was caught and punished with a death sentence. Burma analysts assumed that the person who exposed the generals’ tunnel construction project was a colonel from the Burmese army. However, the informant was known to be a civilian engineer who was not from the army. He was involved in the tunnel construction project with the assistance of the North Korean technicians. The underground tunnel is from Burma to China. It is being built to use as a secret exit to China in case an emergency ( either a foreign invasion or an internal uprising) arises for the military brass hats. The engineer had access to the construction plan and took photos legally but with his own intentions.  The Western intelligence agencies were after the 2 defectors from Burma for intelligence on the Burmese generals’ nuclear intentions and Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency is the only one which has doubts  on the defectors’ reports about the SPDC’s nuclear intentions. One defector was an officer who had served in a secret regiment made up of nuclear technicians and engineers who were trained in Russia.  The other defector was from Htoo Trading Company.  The reason, Mossad didn’t buy the defectors’ reports, was because of lack of supporting evidence.

OPEN LETTER TO THE GENERALS FROM NAYPYIDAW

Dear Generals,

U.S. Secretary of State has declared the U.S. Government’s policy towards Burma. Clinton said Wednesday that the release of  Aung San Suu Kyi could lead to increased US investment. It is unequivocal that the U.S. Administration is going to lift sanctions and start investing in Burma as soon as Ms. Suu Kyi is released.

You have been complaining about the U.S. sanctions imposed since 1988. What are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to have sanctions lifted and get more money into your pockets? If Aung San Suu Kyi is released, it will be killing two birds with one stone. Sanctions will be lifted and investments will pour in and the Burmese people in general will have employment opportunities. Tunnels being built with North Korea’s help can be stopped and the generals can move on and sleep with peace of mind.

Now that you are befriending with North Korea, the rogue state under the surveillance of more than a dozen U.S. intelligence agencies and U.S. Policy makers are thinking twice now. Shall we impose more sanctions on the Burmese generals? Both the Senate and the House will vote yes.

You, ignorant generals, should have a serious emergency meeting as soon as possible. Whatever advice you’ve been getting from China, Russia and North Korea are wrong.Forget about North Korea for the moment. Forget about the tunnels in the meantime. I know you never put people first and so think seriously. If you release Aung San Suu Kyi, sanctions will be lifted. Investments will pour in and the money will come into your hands and the riots and uprisings you fear more than U.S. invasion will no longer occur because people will be employed and prosper. End of story! Stop being paranoid and open up! You will feel better and safer and so will the people!

Sincerely,

Ethan Bourne
BurmaWatchUSA Editor

GAS DEALS (BURMA/CHINA/AUSTRALIA/US/THAILAND)

Thailand’s state-controlled PTT Exploration & Production (PTTEP) is the most interested potential buyer of unlisted Australian producer Coogee Resources, according to a report in the West Australian newspaper. The report claims that PTTEP is carrying out due diligence of Coogee and its assets, the most promising of which is the Montara oil project in the Timor Sea.

Timor Sea Assets
Coogee Resources’ Petroleum Titles and Interests
oilgas1_20081210
Source: Company Data

Coogee was put up for sale in October 2008 after the company’s second-largest shareholder Babcock & Brown decided to sell its 35% stake, prompting a number of unsolicited bids. A data room was set up for the sale by investment bank Goldman Sachs JBWere. The report in West Australian claims that companies initially interested in acquiring Coogee included Australian producer Woodside Petroleum, US independent Apache and Australian Worldwide Exploration. While other companies have been put off by Coogee’s AUD270mn of debt and concerns over the quality of its assets, PTTEP has spent the longest time in the data room, suggesting it is seriously considering making an offer.

Coogee’s assets are located in the Timor Sea, where its only output comes from the mature Jabiru-Challis offshore oil fields, which produced 450 barrels per day (b/d) of oil in H108. The company is currently developing the Montara oil project, its principal assets, which is near Jabiru-Challis. Montara has recoverable oil reserves of 24mn barrels (bbl), according to Coogee, while the satellite Skua, Swift and Swallow fields hold a combined 15mn bbl. As well as its plans for oil, Coogee aims to develop an offshore methanol project to commercialise the gas in its Timor Sea prospects.

According to PTTEP’s most recent strategy announcement from April 2008, the company plans to invest THB81.2bn ($2US.6bn) on exploration, development and production of 38 projects during 2008. Of that it intends to spend THB62.3bn (77%) on projects in Thailand, THB7.8bn (9%) in Myanmar, THB6bn (7%) in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), THB4.4bn (5%) in Vietnam and THB765mn in Indonesia, Cambodia and New Zealand. Should it decide to acquire Coogee, it would represent PTTEP’s first foray into the Australian market and would demonstrate a growing trend of Australian explorers and producers being snapped up by larger state-backed Asian national oil companies (NOCs), with the rumoured bid for Santos from China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) being the most pertinent recent example.

THAN SHWE’S SPDC:One Step Ahead or One Step Behind?
 By Ethan Bourne (BurmawatchUSA Editor)

The whip of George W. Bush and his administration have cornered the Burmese generals and their cronies so hard that there is almost no economic  exits but through ASEAN nations and China. Hiring of lobbyists in Washington D.C.  to have sanctions lifted has not helped the military regime.  As for the U.S. Government, U.S. sanctions have not influenced  the Burmese situation as planned by the policy makers in Washington D.C.  because ASEAN, China and Russia have been collaborating with the Burmese military regime since it took over in 1988.

But when Barack Obama was elected in 2008 as U.S. President,  the U.S. Department of State announced that the U.S. Government would review its policy towards Burma. Barack Obama, a young Democrat who has pragmatic ideas unlike George W . Bush and former Republican Presidents,  was elected because the American people are tired of déjà vu conservative ideas of Republicans who are war-mongers and have no sophisticated ideas to revive the American economy.  Obama’s new ideas of foreign policy initiatives have been welcome by Europe and even by rogue states because flexibility is the key in his policy towards Cuba, Iran and even Burma despite the fact that policy details are still on the table. 

While there has been a change of administration in Washington D.C., the Burmese generals have been busy consulting Chinese and Russian counterparts through the embassies in Rangoon.  Simultaneously, the Ministry of Defense has been receiving North Korean technicians to construct tunnels and upgrade the missile systems.  Sources from Naypyidaw said that the generals reached a concensus during the last 4th quarter meeting to imprison Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of National League for Democracy, the party that won a landslide victiory in the 1990 elections, based on assumed Obama’s flexible foreign policy. The carrot and stick policy of U.S. President Obama  will become an instrument for the Burmese generals according to sources in Naypyidaw.  When Aung San Suu Kyi is in jail, the U.S. Government will ask the Burmese generals to release her  if sanctions are to be lifted according to the so-called carrot and stick policy. That is according to sources from Military Affairs Securty Agency headed by General Ye Myint. Is the Burmese regime one step ahead or one step behind? Time will tell. 

What the regime should be aware of is the carrot could be sanctions being lifted and the stick could be removal of the ruling generals by means of internal forces planted by the CIA. Do the generals know who their officers really are?

TIME TO BOYCOTT  ILLEGITIMATE 2010 ELECTIONS IN BURMA

 

By Ethan Bourne

BurmaWatchUSA  Editor

 

Elections to be held in 2010 are sham elections that are induced to legitimize the military regime of Senior General Than Shwe and his followers. The same method was used by General Ne Win when he wanted to legitimize his power. History has proved that the military regime led by General Than Shwe  even purged one of his own factions (General Khin Nyunt’s intelligence branch)as he saw it as a precarious menace to his power stronghold. History has proved that General Than Shwe has gotten rid of the members of the Sangha ‘s Order who are Buddha’s Sons in the bloody crackdown of the Saffron Revolution in 2007. Over 48 million Burmese have been suffering from the human rights violations, abuses of all sorts and economic mismanagement of the few generals who headquarter themselves in Naypyidaw.

 

In retrospect, in March 1988, student-led demonstrations broke out in Rangoon in response to the worsening economic situation and evolved into a call for regime change. Despite repeated violent crackdowns by the military and police, the demonstrations increased in size as many in the general public joined the students. During mass demonstrations on August 8, 1988, military forces killed more than 1,000 demonstrators. At a rally following this massacre Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of General Aung San, made her first political speech and assumed the role of opposition leader.

In September 1988, a military coup deposed Ne Win’s Burmese Socialist Program Party (BSPP), suspended the constitution, and established a new ruling junta called the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). In an effort to “restore order,” the SLORC sent the army into the streets to suppress the ongoing public demonstrations. An estimated additional 3,000 were killed, and more than 10,000 students fled into the hills and border areas. Many left the country.

 

The SLORC ruled by martial law until national parliamentary elections were held in May 1990. These elections were generally judged to be free and fair. Many assumed that voters were not intimidated because the military incorrectly assumed that their candidates would win. The results were an overwhelming victory for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, which won 392 of the 485 seats, even though she was under house arrest. However, the SLORC refused to honor the results or call the parliament into session. The SLORC instead imprisoned many political activists and maintained its grip on power.

 

The ruling junta changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1997, but did not change its policy of autocratic control and repression of the democratic opposition. It continued to subject Aung San Suu Kyi to varying forms of detention and other restrictions on her movement, which it periodically lifted only to reinstate later. In 2000, the SPDC began talks with the political opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi. These talks were followed by the release of political prisoners and some increase in political freedoms for the NLD. In May 2002, Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to leave her home, and she subsequently traveled widely throughout the country, where she was greeted by large crowds. On May 30, 2003, Aung San Suu Kyi and a convoy of her supporters were attacked by a group of regime-affiliated thugs. Many members of the convoy were killed or injured, and others disappeared. Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of her party were detained, and the military government forcibly closed the offices of the NLD. Today, only the NLD headquarters in Rangoon is open, all the party’s other offices remain closed, and Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest.

In October 2004, hard-line members of the senior leadership consolidated their power by ousting Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt and removing him and his allies from control of the government and military intelligence apparatus. In late November 2004, the junta announced it would release approximately 9,000 prisoners it claimed had been improperly jailed by Khin Nyunt’s National Intelligence Bureau. Approximately 86 of those released had been imprisoned for their political beliefs, including Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi, both key figures in the 1988 demonstrations. On July 6, 2005, authorities released 323 additional political prisoners and on January 3, 2007, the authorities released over 2,800 prisoners, of whom over 40 were political prisoners. Following their release, some of these activists began to reorganize and slowly resume their political activities. Following a sharp increase in fuel prices on August 15, 2007, pro-democracy groups began a series of peaceful marches and demonstrations to protest the deteriorating economic situation in Burma. The regime responded by arbitrarily detaining over 150 pro-democracy activists between August 15 and September 11, including re-arresting Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi. On August 28, as popular dissatisfaction spread, Buddhist monks began leading peaceful marches. On September 5, security forces violently broke up demonstrations by monks resulting in injuries and triggering calls for a nationwide response and a government apology. Beginning on September 18, monks resumed their peaceful protests in several cities throughout the country. These marches grew quickly to include ordinary citizens, culminating in a gathering of approximately 10,000 protestors in Rangoon on September 24. On September 25, the regime tried to stop the protests by imposing a curfew and banning public gatherings. On September 26 and 27, the regime renewed its violent crackdown, shooting, beating, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of monks, pro-democracy activists, and onlookers. The regime confirmed the deaths of only 10 protestors, but some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) estimated the number of casualties to be much higher, and in his December 7, 2007 report to the UN General Assembly, Special Rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro stated that there were over 30 fatalities in Rangoon associated with the September 2007 protests. In retribution for leading protest marches, monks were beaten and arrested, many monks were disrobed, and several monasteries were raided, ransacked, and closed. In addition to the more than 1,100 political prisoners whose arrests predate the September 2007 crackdown, another thousand or more were detained due to their participation in the recent protests. Activists continued to be arrested through December 2008.

 

In February 2008 the government announced that it had completed its draft of a new constitution and would hold a referendum in May to be followed by multi-party elections in 2010. While the referendum law provided for a secret ballot, free debate was not permitted and activities considered “interfering with the referendum” carried a three-year prison sentence. Despite the devastation from by Cyclone Nargis, the regime insisted on carrying out the referendum, and voting took place on May 10 in most of the country and on May 24 in areas affected by the cyclone. The referendum was rife with irregularities; voters arriving at polling stations were advised that their ballots had already been cast; officials distributed ballots that had previously been completed; vote counts in most areas were conducted in secret; and voters were intimidated by officials to vote in support of the constitution. On May 27, the government announced that 92.5% of voters approved the constitution, with a 98% voter turnout. Observers do not consider those figures to be credible.

 

Cyclone Nargis hit Irrawaddy and Rangoon Divisions on the evening of May 2 and morning of May 3, 2008. The storm devastated a huge swath of the Irrawaddy Delta region, wiping out entire villages and leaving an estimated 138,000 Burmese dead or missing (Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)) and approximately 2.4 million people affected by the storm. The regime was criticized for its initial reluctance to grant access to the affected region by international donors.

Starting in November 2008 the government imposed harsh sentences on large numbers of political prisoners it had arrested over the course of the previous year, including Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi. These trials were closed and did not meet minimum standards of due process. Some attorneys who attempted to vigorously represent their clients were harassed by the regime and at least four were detained themselves. The imprisoned activists were convicted, mainly in closed-door hearings, of unlawful association, illegally distributing print and video media, or generally destabilizing public security and the security of the state and were given lengthy sentences, some as long as 68 years.

 

 

Considering the ongoing human rights violations committed by the regime and  the deteriorating social and economic conditions  created by the SPDC, 2010 elections are aimed at nothing better but to hold  on to power and continue to sink Burma into deeper and more chaotic, social and economic crisis. Elections were held in 1990 and the National League for Democracy, the people’s party led by Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory and the elections results must be honored without fail and members of the Parliament must convene a parliament and decide the future of Burma. On the whole 2010 elections are illegitimate  and must be boycotted at all costs.