- The Washington Times - Friday, November 11, 2005

BANGKOK — The Bush administration’s war on terrorism is an excuse allowing the “bloodthirsty murderer” to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, kill innocent people, and strip survivors of their human rights, according to Burma’s military regime.

Burma’s newest tirade against the United States came amid a monthlong October campaign by the repressive, hermit nation that is desperately defending itself against a U.S. attempt to bring Burma to the United Nations’ Security Council for punishment.

Virtually daily last month, Burma also condemned former Czech President Vaclav Havel and South Africa’s retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu for demanding that the Security Council investigate widespread reports of forced labor, torture, opium production, child soldiers and mass rape in Burma.

That country’s economy has been shattered by international sanctions, widespread corruption in the military leadership, and a nonsensical use of “lucky numbers” to fix financial problems.

As a result, inflation is increasing, the Burmese kyat is depreciating, and the unelected generals display increasing nervousness at U.S., British and other foreign attempts to pressure the generals to release Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent 10 of the past 16 years under house arrest.

The generals insist that Mrs. Suu Kyi, 60, must remain in detention so she cannot destabilize the country with demands that her National League for Democracy (NLD) be allowed to govern.

The NLD party won a landslide election victory in 1990, which the regime refused to recognize by insisting that the military must oversee the writing of a new constitution before any politicians could take office.

After 15 years, no constitution has been written, partly because Mrs. Suu Kyi has boycotted its drafting amid complaints that the document would endorse the military’s right to rule and grant it immunity from prosecution.

Washington’s current attempt to put Burma in the U.N. Security Council’s dock has caused jitters among the generals, as evidenced by lengthy complaints in the government-controlled media.

Burma, which the military has renamed Myanmar, is mainly Buddhist, a close ally of China, and mainland Southeast Asia’s biggest country. The regime’s mouthpiece is its newspaper, the New Light of Myanmar, which publishes daily in English for domestic and international consumption.

“Behind the word ‘anti-terrorism’ is convincing evidence of all forms of suffering and adversities [which] the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq are experiencing,” the paper said on Oct. 27.

“Without knowing the hideouts of the terrorists at all, the invaders are using force to launch attacks in these nations at will, killing a great number of innocent people.

“So the word ‘anti-terrorism’ serves as an armor for bloodthirsty murderer and militarist,” it said.

” ‘Human rights’ and ‘democracy’ are two beautiful words the militarist bloc is widely applying to mislead the world’s people about its invasion, and interference in the internal affairs of other nations, under the pretext of anti-terrorism.”

Ironically, Burma warned against “the loss of all human rights of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan,” while claiming that the Burmese military was enforcing law and order so human rights and democracy could flourish at home.

Al Qaeda-style, Islamist terrorist groups are not active in Burma, but the regime has blamed “terrorists” for exploding a handful of small bombs in recent months in Rangoon, the capital, and points to Burma’s minority ethnic guerrillas who have been fighting for autonomy or independence since British colonial rule ended after World War II.

Despite a lack of evidence, the generals have tried to link Mrs. Suu Kyi indirectly to the bombings and occasional clashes between the military and the guerrillas, but she insists that her struggle for democracy is nonviolent.

Burma earlier criticized U.S.-based DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, a legal-services company, for helping Mr. Havel and Archbishop Tutu publish their 70-page document, “Threat to the Peace: A Call for the U.N. Security Council to Act in Burma.”

Mrs. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy called on the Security Council Oct. 31 to consider urgently the human rights and political situation in Burma and the report of Mr. Havel and Archbishop Tutu.

“There is no basis whatsoever to its claims,” the Foreign Ministry had said in a 1,270-word statement published in the New Light of Myanmar on Sept. 3.

Burma “has on several occasions officially denounced those allegations that it engages in rape, forced labor, child soldiers, refugees’ outflow, forced relocation, etc.,” the ministry said.

Burma, under military rule since 1962, is among the world’s worst abusers of human rights, according to London-based Amnesty International, the U.S. State Department and other monitors.

Last January, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice listed Burma as one of the “outposts of tyranny” that must be challenged, along with Cuba, Belarus and Zimbabwe.

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