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Burma Update

From the BBC which is still able to make limited contact with people inside Burma:

Heavy army presence in Burma city

Thousands of heavily armed soldiers are patrolling the streets of Burma’s main city, Rangoon, with no sign of further protests against the military junta.

Troops are stopping young men on the streets and in cars, searching for cameras that may be used to smuggle out images, correspondents in Burma say.

Most internet links are still down and mobile phone networks disrupted.


Burmese foreign minister blames ‘opportunists’

Burma’s Foreign Minister Nyan Win has blamed “political opportunists” for trying to turn protests by a small group of activists into a showdown.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly, he said “normalcy” had returned to Burma after days of pro-democracy protests.

The official government media is telling people not to listen to the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, or the BBC, as they are “saboteurs” working with the opposition and spreading lies. Burmese officials are maximizing their control of information to ensure that their message is the only information getting out of the country. There is no independent verification of the claims of either the government or the opposition, but the accepted view is that the death toll was greater than 100, but probably not the thousands some are claiming.

Foreigners are generally restricted to the area around Rangoon, which is under tight military and police control.

8 comments

1 Alice { 10.01.07 at 9:35 pm }

The BBC has had the best reporting on this. Their website put out the call for people to upload pictures and videos and post their views and comments while it was still possible. Smart move on their part and a good use of the Internet — leveling the playing field does give others a chance to counter the official government line.

2 Bryan { 10.01.07 at 10:09 pm }

The Beeb does a lot of texting and cell phone connections. Apparently the few journalists still in Burma now have “protection” because of the emergency.

They are getting reports from refugees coming across the Thai border, but are cautious about presenting what is said and treat reports from opposition groups the same way.

Pictures are the best evidence, and there are certainly a lot of cell phones with cameras these days.

3 whig { 10.01.07 at 10:18 pm }

It’s not like we’re going to be kept from seeing what they’ve done, when we get cameras in there eventually. It’s not like they won’t be visible for the whole world to see.

4 whig { 10.01.07 at 10:19 pm }

My point being, these criminals who are doing things will be identified and known.

5 whig { 10.01.07 at 10:20 pm }

They cannot defeat the monks, if they killed every last one.

6 jams o donnell { 10.02.07 at 4:43 am }

THe BBC reported yesterday that the monks arested last week are to be sent to prisons in teh nrth of Burma. One thing that passed my mind was whether being “sent north” had a similar meaning as being “deported to the east” had under the Reich. It would not surprise me, sadly.

7 fallenmonk { 10.02.07 at 7:49 am }

Other reports are saying that thousands of protestors are dead as well as hundreds of monks. We are just going to have to wait for accurate information but it looks pretty bad.

8 Bryan { 10.02.07 at 1:06 pm }

Eventually the extent of the crime will be known, Whig, but what will be the cost? The Hedgemony has destroyed the reputation of the US to the point that nothing it says is trusted or believed and talking about Burma helps the junta, giving it credibility in some parts of the world based on the now common assumption that the US always lies.

I feel certain that that is exactly what is happening, Jams. It is the normal pattern of repressive military regimes. There is certainly an ethnic element at play that makes it almost certain. I assume that we will find out that they are bringing groups of thugs from other ethnic groups to control the situation, just as the Soviets and Chinese brought in units from outlying provinces to avoid any connection between the oppressors and oppressed. Language barriers are a useful tool in oppression.

I can easily believe that the death toll is in the thousands, Fallenmonk, because the reports have been focusing on Rangoon, but there have been demonstrations in other areas where there are no foreigners to report what is happening, and no need to pretend any restraint.