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Repression plumbs new depths under Burma's Than Shwe

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posted on May, 17 2008 @ 09:45 AM

Repression plumbs new depths under Burma's Than Shwe

If the death and destitution of uncounted multitudes of his citizens trouble Than Shwe's conscience, the public will never know. For the armour-plated general – who started his career as a humble postal clerk – maintains a secretive regime of fear, in which all authority is held in his hands, friends as well as foes are under strict surveillance and the army is a powerful presence in almost every facet of life.
(visit the link for the full news article)

Related News Links:

posted on May, 17 2008 @ 09:45 AM
The cruelty and greed of dictators is often their hallmark. We needn't look far to find examples of similar extravant behavior, past and present... Idi Amin, Robert Mugabe, the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein come to mind.

These ruthless dictators isolate themselves in luxury, purposefully ignoring the plight of their people no matter how severe it can be. Than Swe is just the focus at the moment because of the death and destruction brough about by cyclone Nargis.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on May, 17 2008 @ 09:55 AM

While millions struggled to fill their daily rice bowls, he celebrated his daughter's wedding with a multi-million-dollar feast, the bride encrusted in jewels and an ocean of champagne flowing for applauding guests.

Included as the third and fourth links in the opening post are descriptions of the wedding mentioned. There is a video as well.

IMO, Than Swe couldn't care less about the millions of lives at risk. Perhaps he feels that they will be less of a problem if they are all dead.

Harsh words, but unfortunately also likely to be true.

Here is an article from The Onion, which, while making up a sarcastic story about this dictator, probably comes quite close to the truth.

posted on May, 17 2008 @ 11:30 AM
Glad you bring up Than Shwe, masqua.

Very few know who he is and still fewer what he is.

I just wanted to give your thread a bump before I go to bed.

Tomorrow I shall try to contribute something, though it's hard to find anything substantiel on him.

I think I can dig out something on his --and his son-in-law Tay Za-- business connection to the Lees of Singapore. Just did some random searching and found out Singapore is the biggest investor in Burma.

No coincidence with their prudish and strict drug policies, they whitewash money for the junta and their croonies.

posted on May, 17 2008 @ 12:07 PM
reply to post by khunmoon

Looking forward to whatever you can find on this man. Trying to understand his obstinacy regarding the much-needed aid shipments is difficult for many of us.

Here's a peek into the thinking behind the personality (taken from the link in the opening post);

"He has reasserted a typically Burman history of Burma," says Justin Wintle, a British historian and biographer, referring to the country's dominant ethnic group. "Strong kings were warrior kings. They behaved appallingly to their subjects, and he is in that line."


"And there he plays out his tragic drama of domination over a people he largely considers The Enemy, convinced that the slightest sign of opposition will undermine his vision of a unified, and subjugated, state. It's a paranoid view that makes democracy a foe to be fought to the death".

(bolding mine)

As I mentioned, this man revels in the misery of his people. It's something he does because he figures it proper and historically correct.

Amazing in this day and age, don't you agree?

[edit on 17/5/08 by masqua]

posted on May, 17 2008 @ 01:02 PM
The 20th anniversary of a Burmese massacre is coming this summer to the the military junta which so mystified the world in it's unbelievable reluctance to allow the world to come to the aid of it's population in the aftermath of the cyclone.

Here is a history lesson;

On 8 August 1988 (8.8.88), the army opened fire on student-led pro-democracy demonstrations that had started in Yangon and then spread throughout the country, killing approximately 3,000 people. As the new governing body of the country, army leaders General Saw Maung and Brigadier General Khin Nyunt created the "State Law and Order Restoration Council" (SLORC).

With the date for the expected uprising coming closer, so it's no wonder that there is a lack of desire to help these cyclone victims.

After all... less people is less problems for the elite ruling society.


Additional info;

posted on May, 18 2008 @ 03:32 AM

Originally posted by masqua
...this man revels in the misery of his people. It's something he does because he figures it proper and historically correct.

Amazing in this day and age, don't you agree?

You hit the nail there! Not just the societies of SE Asia are worlds apart from ours, their mentality also is. So yes, what Than Shwe does is in a 'proud' historical tradition.

You know I've partly lived in Thailand for 9 years, and I still have a hard time to cope with such mentality. Where our societies consits of layers (classes) that pretty much stick to themselves and only interacts through the proper organisations, you can say they are horizontal. In SE Asia they are more vertical, organised in a network not easily disclosed. It is held in frames of their religion that pretty much saturates any structure of authority. From the very bottom to the top there's someone reporting (and enjoying the benefits thereof) one layer up. All it takes is blind obedience which is pretty much the only thing they teach in their schools.

To show mercy is the worst sign of weakness in such a hierarhcy. That partly explains it, but is nontheless appaling to our Christian tradition. Buddhism is an unsentimental religion, and mixed with superstition and black magic practises, like it is in SE Asia, it becomes something bordering Fascism.

Also I should say such a system ensures that people never really will find together, designed to create animosity and mistrust among ordinary folks. Much like in the old East Germany.

About Than Shwe and his Singaporean connections I've found out that he is in very poor health and this January was hospitalized in Singapore. Singaporean doctors have long been known regulary to go to Naypyidaw to give him treatments for diabetes and coronary ailments.

What's most interesting in his case record is that he ostensibly suffers Alzhiemer as well. Rumours of him when upset fainting are circulating, and not being able to recognize his croonies. Classic symptoms.

About his business connection and the alleged indication of drug trafficking I haven't been able to find the links are read last fall. However I have found a couple of articles clearly build on those. First I would like to focus on this one published 29 February this year.

A Big-time Burmese Drug Trafficker’s Singaporean Connection

In an action that Burma watchers view as long overdue, the United States earlier this week slapped financial sanctions on wealthy Burmese businessman Lo Hsing Han, his US-educated son, Steven Law and Law’s wife, Cecilia Ng, a Singaporean businesswoman.

At least 10 Singaporean companies owned by Law’s wife have been targeted by the sanctions. Among other things, the sanctions point up the often-unhealthy way the Singaporean government chooses to ignore relationships between its financial community and unsavory Burmese businessmen. Because of the ties to Lo’s main corporate vehicle, Asia World Co. Ltd, the story also illustrates graphically the narco-state that Burma’s rulers have visited upon the world stage.

Asia World Co. Ltd has just been awarded the enterprise of rebuilding in the Irrawaddy delta (see my thread Don't Forget Burma on that).

Biographical data on its founder Lo includes:

The saga of how Lo and his son acquired their fortune and the outward trappings of respectability has many twists and turns including several brushes with death. Lo, 70 or 73 years old depending on the source, began in the drug trade in 1960 when he organized a local militia in the Kokang area of Shan State. The government turned a blind eye to Lo’s drug trafficking in exchange for his assistance in fighting Shan insurgents. He was dubbed the “King of Opium” by US authorities in the 1970s.

To connect to Than Shwe (son-in-law Tay Za) there's this:

Although the Money Authority of Singapore is unlikely to advise banks to cut ties with Burmese firms as a result of the US sanctions, some analysts believe Singaporean banks are taking steps to restrict their links to Burmese companies. The refusal of Singaporean banks to deal with Burmese tycoon Tay Za’s Air Bagan airline is seen as a possible example of this. In addition, in late October 2007 the Irrawaddy magazine reported that bank transfers between United Overseas Bank of Singapore and Burma had been suspended temporarily. The risks to their banking relationships with the US may be forcing Singaporean banks to re-evaluate doing business with Burmese firms.

Further on Lo and Tay Za, from Singapore and Burma: Such Good Friends

...referring to junta cronies like Tay Za and the druglord Lo Hsing Han. Lo is an ethnic Chinese, from Burma’s traditionally Chinese-populated and opium-rich Kokang region in the country’s east, bordering China. Lo controls a massive heroin empire, and one of Burma’s biggest companies, Asia World, which the US Drug Enforcement Agency describes as a front for his drug-trafficking. Asia World controls toll roads, industrial parks and trading companies. Singapore is the Lo family’s crucial window to the world, controlling a number of companies there. His son Steven, who has been denied a visa to the US because of his links to the drug trade, even married a Singaporean, Cecilia Ng, and the two reportedly control a Singapore-based trading house, Kokang Singapore Pte Ltd. The couple transit Singapore at will. A former US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Robert Gelbard, has said that half of Singapore’s investments in Burma “have been tied to the family of narco-trafficker Lo Hsing Han.”

Romantically-linked to a daughter of junta leader Than Shwe, Tay Za is also well known in Singapore. He had his fleet of Ferraris, Lexus’ and Mercedes shipped in from there. When on the island, he likes to stay at the Meritus Mandarin hotel on Orchard Rd, close to the excellent Singapore hospitals favored by his senior military patrons in Burma. Tay Za was all over the Singapore media last year toasting the launch of his new airline, Air Bagan, with the head of Singapore’s aviation authority. Dissident groups say the trade-off for Tay Za’s government business contracts in Burma is to fund junta leaders’ medical trips to Singapore.

With reference to the popular rise last fall, this part gives interesting details on Singapore's state-owned investment house Temasek Holdings.

Government business-technocrats in Singapore were also closely – and perhaps nervously — monitoring the brutality underway in Rangoon. And, were they so inclined, their influence could go a long way to limiting the misery being inflicted on Burma’s 54 million people.

Collectively known as “Singapore Inc,” they tend to gather around the $150 billion state-owned investment house Temasek Holdings, controlled by a member of Singapore’s long-ruling Lee family, Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Singapore companies have been some of the biggest investors in and supporters of Burma’s military junta, while its government, in the rare times it is asked, suggests a softly-softly diplomatic approach toward the junta. Tiny Singapore ranks alongside China and Thailand as Burma’s biggest trading partners.

When it comes to Burma, Singapore pockets the high morals it likes to wave at the West elsewhere. Singapore’s one-time head of foreign trade once said as his country was building links with Burma in the mid 1990’s; “while the other countries are ignoring it, it's a good time for us to go in….you get better deals, and you're more appreciated... Singapore's position is not to judge them and take a judgmental moral high ground.”

Off topic I like to note that Temasek Holdings also is the body that bought former Thai PM Thaksin's Shin corporation, the (almost) sole provider of wireless communication in Thailand. A draw that caused his fall and a never before seen hostility towards Singapore. There used to be a close cooperation between Thai and Singaporean military. Not anymore.

[edit on 18/5/2008 by khunmoon]

[edit on 18/5/2008 by khunmoon]

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