Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Murder in Myanmar

Here's the end effect of Mao's infamous dictum on political power: Power, he said, comes out of the barrel of a gun. He might have added that murdering authoritarian thugs will only reluctantly cede such power. The Burmese are the latest to feel the force of that dictum. Reports the Daily Mail:
Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma's ruling junta has revealed.
Murdering bastards.

UPDATE: Says Christopher Hitchens at Slate, "Burma's foul regime depends on Beijing," and is perhaps a warming that the benevolence of the Beijing Government can be too easily overestimated, as is the benignity of religious resistance in Rangoon.
Some people write to me [says Hitchens] to say that I must be mistaken about religion, because the opposition to the gruesome dictatorship in Burma is led by Buddhist monks. This seems to be wrong twice because a) the photographs of the demonstrations also show large crowds of Burmese wearing ordinary civilian garb; and b) the dictatorship is itself Buddhist and has expended huge sums on building temples to witness to the fact. It's fine by me if monks join the opposition... One is not hoping for a future Buddhist republic in Burma but for a country that is emancipated from totalitarianism in all its forms...

I thought President Bush was quite correct in listing his least favorite regimes during his address to the United Nations last week and in trying to ramp up the international pressure on the goons in Rangoon. The governments that he singled out were the uniquely repellent ones that consider the citizen to be the property of the state and the uniquely boring ones that have remained in power until their citizens are positively screaming for release. I do not need to specify these senescent gangster systems individually, except that they all have one thing in common. They are all defended, from Cuba to Zimbabwe, by the Chinese vote at the United Nations.

Those who care or purport to care about human rights must start to discuss this problem in plain words. Is there an initiative to save the un-massacred remains of the people of Darfur? It will be met by a Chinese veto. Does anyone care about Robert Mugabe treating his desperate population as if it belonged to him personally? China is always ready to help him out. Are the North Koreans starved and isolated so that a demented playboy can posture with nuclear weapons? Beijing will give the demented playboy a guarantee. How long can Southeast Asia bear the shame and misery of the Burmese junta? As long as the embrace of China persists. The identity of Tibet is being obliterated by the deliberate importation of Chinese settlers. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who claims even to know and determine the sex lives of his serfs (by the way, the very essence of totalitarianism), is armed and financed by China...
A warning, perhaps.


  1. And yet another example of why individuals must possess the right to bear arms. It is the last line of defence an individual has against a government that is intent on breaching individual rights.


  2. The Burmese road to socialism is how the regime has described itself for decades.

    What is most sickening is the moral equivalence applied by China and the UN. China asks for restraint from BOTH sides - the UN talks to both sides seeking restraint.

    Imagine a UN envoy visiting Germany in 1939 had it never invaded Poland - seeking compromise between the Jews and the Nazis.

    and Clark says she'll follow the UN - an organisation that truly is only as great as its lowliest member.

  3. I have wondered about this before - China obtains the ability to support all these regimes (and thus creates new pockets of anti-Americanism) from it's new found economic power.

    This relies on two things - the conversion of it's massive population from rural producers to industrial factory workers and the western know-how and financial capital that has made it possible.

    Now free trade with (and investment in) China will expose the Chinese population to Western culture and lead to them demanding greater freedom (free minds go with free markets) so in one sense free trade with China is corrupting the communist party's control from within. But on the other hand, the trade is underpinning their new found economic power with which they suppport (financially, politically, morally) the regimes of Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Burma and, no doubt, Venezuela, among others.

    So are we right to trade with China on their terms or are we selling the PRC the rope by which we shall be hanged?

  4. Singapore is also a major supporter of the Burmese regime.

    Quoting from the linked article:

    Much of Singapore's activity in Burma has been documented by an analyst working in Australia's Office of National Assessments. Andrew Selth is recognised as a leading authority on Burma's military. Now a research fellow at Queensland's Griffith University, Selth has written extensively for years on how close Singapore Inc is to the junta.

    Often writing as "William Ashton" in Jane's Intelligence Review, Selth has described how Singapore has sent guns, rockets, armoured personnel carriers and grenade launchers to the junta, some of it trans-shipped from stocks seized by Israel from Palestinians in southern Lebanon.

    Singaporean companies have provided computers and communications equipment for Burma's defence ministry and army, while upgrading the junta's ability to communicate with regional commanders - so crucial as protesters take to the streets of 20 cities in Burma. The sheer scale of the protests is causing logistical headaches for the Tatmadaw, as Burma's military is known.

    "Singapore cares little about human rights, in particular the plight of the ethnic and religious minorities in Burma," Selth writes. "Having developed one of the region's most advanced armed forces and defence industrial support bases, Singapore is in a good position to offer Burma a number of inducements which other ASEAN [Association of South-East Asian Nations] countries would find hard to match."

    Selth says Singapore also provided the equipment for a "cyber war centre" to monitor dissident activity, while training Burma's secret police, whose sole job appears to be ensuring democracy groups are crushed.

    Monitoring dissidents is an area where Singapore has expertise. After almost five decades in power, the Lee family-controlled People's Action Party ranks behind only the communists of China, Cuba and North Korea in leadership longevity.

    "This centre is reported to be closely involved in the monitoring and recording of foreign and domestic telecommunications, including the satellite telephone conversations of Burmese opposition groups," Selth writes.

  5. The UN should have sent in the team of psychics from TV2 show (every Tuesday night - 8-30pm) Sensing Murder to find all the missing Buddhist monks. The psychics claim that they could talk to the dead. TV2 and their psychics should be lined up and each shot thru the head.


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