January 15, 2009
HP-1355
Source: U.S. Department of Treasury

Treasury Targets Financial Networks of Key Supporters of the Burmese Junta

Washington, DC–The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today applied additional sanctions against key financial backers of the Burmese regime pursuant to the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 and Executive Orders 13448 and 13464.

“Congress and the Administration have made clear the need to apply vigorous sanctions against the Burmese junta as long as it continues to suppress democratic dissent,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “The junta’s imprisonment of prominent democracy advocates confirms Burma’s unwillingness to abide by international commitments and underscores the need to maintain pressure against one of the world’s worst violators of human rights.”

Today’s action adds two individuals and 14 companies to OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals. OFAC has now subjected 100 individuals and entities to its Burma sanctions, targeting key state-owned enterprises, senior junta officials, regime cronies and their business networks.

This most recent action targets regime cronies Zaw Zaw and Win Aung, along with their business networks and the business networks of two already-designated cronies of the Burmese junta, Tay Za and Steven Law.

Zaw Zaw is the managing director of the Max Myanmar Group of Companies, a Burmese entity with interests in the gem, timber, construction, and tourism industries. Max Myanmar has provided important services in support of the Burmese junta, particularly in the form of construction projects. Treasury’s action targets eight companies of the Max Myanmar Group as well as Zaw Zaw’s Singapore-based company, Max Singapore International Pte. Ltd.

Win Aung has made large financial donations to the Burmese junta and has provided services in support of the regime on significant construction projects. Win Aung is being designated along with two of his companies, Dagon International Limited and Dagon Timber Limited.

OFAC is levying a third round of sanctions against the financial network of Tay Za, a notorious regime henchman and arms dealer who was listed by the President in the Annex to Executive Order 13448 on October 18, 2007, an Executive Order issued in response to the Burmese junta’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Today’s action targets Espace Avenir, a Rangoon hotel owned or controlled by Tay Za.

In addition, today’s action targets Sentosa Treasure Pte. Ltd., a Singaporean firm owned by Cecilia Ng, who was designated on February 25, 2008, along with her husband, junta crony Steven Law. Also designated are nine firms that previously had been identified as being owned by Ng.

Finally, OFAC is targeting Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Company Limited (MICCL), a joint venture owned or controlled by the Burmese state-owned No. 1 Mining Enterprise, which was designated on July 29, 2008. MICCL controls the Monywa copper project, the biggest of its kind in the country, located in Myanmar’s northwestern Sagaing division.

As a result of today’s action, any assets the designees may have subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and all financial and commercial transactions by any U.S. person with the designated companies and individuals are prohibited.

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Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman

Washington, DC
January 2, 2009

Burma’s Independence Day

Sunday, January 4, 2009 marks the 61st anniversary of Burma’s independence from British rule. We wish to express our warmest wishes to the people of Burma on this occasion. As we reflect on Burma’s independence struggle, led by General Aung San, we are reminded of our own history.
 

We support the peaceful efforts of people everywhere to exercise freely their universal human rights. We stand with the Burmese people today in honoring Aung San’s vision for an independent, peaceful, and democratic Burma and look forward to the day when Burma’s citizens will be able to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy. We earnestly hope that day will come soon.

2009/002

Source: U.S. Department of State

 

Released on January 2, 2009

The U.S. Role in Burma

September 6, 2008

The U.S. role in Burma

 

By Alan Gilbert

 

In light of the changes happening in this, and election year it is important that we evaluate the current role of the U.S. and its direction in the future in the affairs of Burma.

 

As you may recall, first there was the Monk’s uprising of September 2007, the first and most violent since the 1988 revolt in which some 3000 people were killed. Led by the young Buddhist monks and closely linked with the pro-democracy movement that has kept political opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest since 1990 when her party was overwhelmingly voted into power. The military junta that rules Burma continued to hold the reins of power of course, while Burma (now called Myanmar by the junta but not by the mix of ethnic groups that make up the country’s population) has through mismanagement been reduced to one of the poorest in the region.

 

The suppression of this latest protest came as no surprise as the junta maintained its iron grip on the region and used brute force to put down opposition.

 

Then came the cyclone that killed upwards of 100,000) and left two or three million homeless; a disaster on a scale like that of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004. The storm would have been newsworthy enough, but then in what can only be called an act of arrogant stupidity, the junta, held up the issuing of the necessary visas so that relief workers could bring aid to the devastated region, resulting in even more deaths and massive human suffering.

 

And how has the U.S. responded to this surge of democratic revolt? It has imposed diplomatic and economic sanctions on the generals and their cronies. This is a similar strategy to the one exercised on Iraq after the first Gulf War, and its effectiveness has not improved in the interim.

 

The sanctions are in fact intended to isolate the military and force it from power and allow the politicians to say that they have “done something” with regards to the situation in Burma. In fact they will in all likelihood drive Burma into a closer relationship with China, while U.S.-ally Thailand continues to cope with the growing flood of Burmese refugees.

 

The irony of course is that Burma is rich in natural resources and with its enthusiastically pro-democratic population is potentially an extremely strategic ally in the region, which being situated between China and India, is a bridge between the two economic superpowers.

 

But of course the U.S. news is now dominated by the swiftly changing events of its presidential and congressional elections and Burma has once again sunk below the radar. The current administration is unlikely to do anything more than give lip service as the clock runs out on its term. Let’s see what the next administration is up to.

 

It is only to be hoped that the next administration will take a different tack and exercise some serious and long-overdue diplomatic and political pressure on the now-aging junta. It is both a daunting challenge and a huge opportunity, and the eventual fate of this embattled country may well hang in the balance.

 

Alan Gilbert is a political analyst and editor of BurmaWatchUSA.

_ By Ethan Bourne

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 who has been making research about the Burmese military brass for more than 10 years, the generals have 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 Alqaeda, 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 occur. 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 Major 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.

HOW TO STAGE A COUP

 

Aug 8 2008

 

coup.jpg

By JULIEN MOE & ETHAN BOURNE

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 a coup. 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.

HOW TO CHANGE THE COURSE FOR BURMESE INDEPENDENCE

By Ethan Bourne

The military junta has nullified the 1990 elections accidentally on purpose. Then the generals have forcefully imposed a sham referendum on the Burmese who will probably say yes for fear of persecution. Aung San Suu Kyi has been banned from taking part in the 2010 elections. No UN monitoring!

The answer is crystal clear. They will keep on ruling Burma by force as Ne Win did. Burma has natural resources such as oil, natural gas, teak and gold wanted by any nation in the world: China, Russia, Thailand and even the United States. The addiction to luxury and wealth sucked from the sale of these natural resources and fear of losing power has assured these generals to cling to power at any expense and the September Saffron Uprising has proved they would eliminate anybody who is in their way. The United Nations has proved weak and ineffective in influencing the Burmese situation.

The United Nations made a blunder when Ban Ki-Moon said all parties must be inclusive when elections are held in 2010. He should have said, “No more elections are necessary. The 1990 elections results must be honored”. What the United Nations has been doing is all to the Burmese generals’ favor. Some Burma analysts say the generals are sensitive to international pressure. In fact, they are pretending to be reacting sensitively to international pressure. They have hired scholars and advisors to advise them what to say when. According to a source in the army, the generals have spent about $10 million for consultation services from abroad.

The independence movement in Burma has started since Ne Win seized power in 1962. And it is ongoing. Khun Ye Naung, one of the former expatriates said to a group of students who would take to the jungle after the army opened fire on students on September 18, 1988, said, “Sons, we were in the jungle and fought against the Burmese army for more than four decades but couldn’t get a piece of land and I suggest you consider this before you take to the jungle for armed revolution.” That was a piece of advice Khun Ye Naung gave to the 1988 student generation in September 1988. Fighting the Burmese army to change the political course in Burma will be waste of time, money and energy. The students and the ethnic groups should instead wage guerilla wars inside Burma.

It is unequivocal that the students must form a new students’ army. ABSDF was ineffective and no military campaigns were waged against SPDC. Naturally no western intelligence agency had neither any plans nor any interest to fund them. Either an ethnic army or a students’ army must show its strength, capabilities and actions and so a western intelligence agency will consider funding them. The ethnic groups must be united to form a united front. The National League for Democracy and the people of Burma must stick to their own policy of not recognizing the sham referendum that will prolong the generals’ power and the sham elections that will be held in 2010. The referendum and the 2010 elections must be boycotted at any cost by the people of Burma. The 1988 Generation Students must prescribe their own policies of political activities and military options as well. Routine yearly conferences and issuing condemnation statements will neither bear any fruits for the future of Burma nor influence the Burmese situation. Decisive actions must be made and funding and support will follow.

ENEMY OF THE BURMESE

April 2, 2008

ENEMY OF THE STATE

 

BY Ethan Bourne (BURMAWATCHUSA  EDITOR)

 

China has been shielding the Burmese generals for more than two decades. In Ne Win’s time Burma had some hard time with China. Today China has been giving the Burmese generals not only military assistance, moral support and interest-free loans but also advice as to how to hold on to power. But Burma has been a bad omen for Big Brother, China who has been running into political dissent in Tibet and China. Once a political violence occurs in Burma, a similar event follows in China. For example, the 1988 uprising occurred in Burma on August 8th 1988 and the Tiananmen Square Uprising (1989) also known as the June Fourth Incident followed the 1988 Uprising in Burma. In September of 2007 the Saffron Uprising occurred in Burma. This month Tibetan monks in Tibet have started to protest against Chinese rule.

 

No matter what, China’s Influence on Burma is going on a daily basis. At the same time China’s growing security and economic ties with Burma have been a growing concern to other Asian countries, which fear that Beijing will use its influence to gain access to Burmese military installations and ports close to the Indian Ocean. The installations include Chinese-supplied radar on Burma’s Coco Islands just north of India’s Andaman Islands and not far from Indonesia. In fact, Beijing is taking advantage of  Rangoon’s isolation to satisfy its own regional power ambitions, especially its desire to counter India in the Indian Ocean. The electronic surveillance facility on the Coco Islands is an ideal location from which to keep an eye on India’s naval operations in the area as well as its ballistic missile tests and satellite launches.

 

Fact is China is quickly becoming one of the world’s largest, most secretive and irresponsible arms exporters. According to Kanwa Defense Review, China has exported two 16 PA6 ship-borne diesel engines to Burma to be fitted on its navy’s indigenous patrol ships according to German sources. The PLA navy’s 054A missile frigate uses four 16 PA6 engines, manufactured by China under license from MAN Diesel. MAN Diesel was originally the SEMT Pielstick Co., under French ownership, but changed its name following restructuring last year. China’s export of these engines will help Burma upgrade its patrol vessels. Since 1998, the Burmese navy has built three Sinmalaik-class patrol vessels, with assistance from China in the design and construction of the vessel hulls. The Sinmalaik-class patrol vessel has a full-load displacement of 1,000 tons and is not fitted with ship-to-ship missiles. The Burmese Navy apparently has plans to develop its own light-duty offshore patrol vessels with China’s assistance, and China’s provision of the 16 PA6 engines is likely related to this plan. Most of the major surface combatants of the Burmese navy were supplied by China, so the navy resembles the PLA navy in many respects. It has acquired Chinese 40-kilometer-range C-801 ship-to-ship missiles along with 037-G high-speed missile patrol boats. The Myanmar navy altogether has four 037-G fast missile boats, which were all delivered between 1995 and 1997. China officially issued an export license for its new C-802A ship-to-ship missiles six months ago, intending to promote sales to South and Southeast Asian countries. The C-802A has a range of 180 kilometers and is a replacement for the earlier C-801 and C-802 SSMs.

Not only the Burmese Navy but also its army and air force are equipped with massive Chinese military equipment. For the past 10 years, China has been the largest supplier of arms to Burma. During the 2007 Saffron Uprising Burmese troops were using Chinese-made Dongfeng trucks and even wearing Chinese helmets. The army has been equipped with more than 100 Chinese T-69-II main battle tanks and 55 new T-90 armored personnel carriers. A Google Earth satellite photo shows that at least two Chinese A5M attackers have been deployed in the northern city of Mandalay, which can be used for assaults on rebels in the northern part of the country. China sold more than 22 A5M attackers and at least 50 F-7 fighters to the Burmese air force in 1991 and 1993. Satellite photos have also shown two Chinese-made Y-8 transporters at the Rangoon airport. Also, 12 Chinese Lang Chang K-8 jet trainer aircraft have been sold to the country in the past seven years. Burma has been told to be a province of China and analysts cannot be blamed for that remark. Burma is buying Chinese arms not to defend itself from foreign aggression but to kill its own people The better the relation between China and Burma grows, the worse the suffering of the people of Burma will become. The people of Burma must realize that China is in fact the enemy of the state, of the people of Burma.

 

BurmaWatchUSA

April 2, 2008

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