Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Accessories to murderous Myanmar?

Dean Johns, one of the most readable columnists at Malaysiakini has hit the nail right on the head … of hypocrisy, those of various Head of States.

He wrote in

“I’m sick to death of hearing heads of state, foreign ministers and other high-level hypocrites claiming that their hearts bleed for the people of Burma while they and their business cronies go on supporting the regime that has been sucking the life out of its people for so long.”

This time Dean abandoned his fabulous tongue-in-cheek style and lambasted - yes, passionately and caustically so - a number of nations who might/could have been able to pull a few levers in the Myanmar totalitarian machine but wouldn't due to so-called ‘national interest’. He tongue-lashed China (OK, just a damn totalitarian State itself anyway) and India, the World’s biggest democracy(?), with the question mark on ‘democracy' rather than ‘World’s biggest’.

Dean spat out at India for saying meaningless ‘nuthin’ like
“The government of India is concerned at and is closely monitoring the situation in Myanmar (Burma). It is our hope that all sides will resolve their issues peacefully through dialogue. India has always believed that Myanmar’s process of political reform and national reconciliation should be more inclusive and broad-based.”

Damn spill could have been issued from Whitehall itself, but then they are Indians, aren't they!

Now, this ‘national interest’ – just what is it that has zipped up those big nations' mouths?

It’s their need and greed for energy! Yes, oil, gas and any fossil fuel.

The same ‘national interest’ saw the world’s greatest democracy, namely the USA, owner of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib and creator of the evil sinister system called ‘extraordinary rendition’ (or the devolvement of American desired torture to 3rd World nations), supporting, protecting and nurturing draconian regimes like Saudi Arabia, and once-upon-a-time the Shah’s Iran where the Gestapo-like US-trained Savak murdered and tortured Iranians, and that Mother of them all, Saddam’s Iraq where US munitions plenipotentiary Mr Rumsfeld personally flew to Baghdad to shake the Mother of all hands with promise of more weapons.

Oh, did I miss out the American–Taliban bed-fellowship, when those Muftis of Murder had previously controlled a country vital for a US oil pipeline from Kazakhstan and various ‘-stan’ nations to the Indian Ocean (via Pakistan), and were then naturally American allies.

On the same score Dean didn’t spare his former state of residence as he blasted Malaysia for her amorous but 'unctuous' relationship with dictators in Chad, Sudan and ... gulp ... Myanmar.

What about our southern neighbor then – no, not disorganized Indonesia but that Island called Singapore?

Dean wrote:
“… Singapore, so proudly squeaky-clean at home, is also apparently in on the action. An article by Eric Ellis in the Sydney Morning Herald on Oct 1 quotes Singapore’s (unnamed) former head of foreign trade as saying during the 1990s about his country building links with Burma."

“While 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.”

Dr Chee Soon Juan, secretary general of Singapore Democratic Party wrote of the Singapore government’s hypocrisy with regards to the incongruity of the Island nation’s stern capital punishment for drug smugglers and its cozy (trade) relationship with Myanmar.

Dr Chee
said: “While Singapore hangs small-time drug peddlers, the government continues to trade lavishly with Burma - the world's largest producer of heroin. The hypocrisy begs attention.”


"Herein lies the irony. As much as the Singapore government is 'not happy with people keeping opium,' it does extensive trade with a regime notorious for supporting and operating the drug trade in Burma."

"Singapore remains the second largest investor in Burma. In the hotel industry, Singapore tops the list with $546 million invested in various hotel projects - more than Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, the UK and France put together."

"With such investments, the SLORC has been actively trying to promote Burma as a tourist haven. In fact, SLORC Generals have been diligently trying to woo the Singaporean tourist."

"The difference between Singapore and some of the other countries investing in Burma is that while other countries are represented by private companies, the Singapore government is itself is involved in the businesses."

"A television documentary , Singapore Sling, by Australia's Special Broadcasting Services alleged that the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, (GIC), has invested heavily in the Myanmar Fund, an investment company set up to promote and finance investments in Burma. Lo Hsing Han's Asia World Co. also has shares in the Myanmar Fund. It was also alleged that Lo travels freely in and out of Singapore. In addition, Lo's son, Steven Law, who has been denied a visa to enter the US because of suspected drug activities, has a registered business in Singapore."

"After the programme was aired in October 1996, the Singapore government lodged a protest through its High Commission in Canberra. The television station stood by its report and invited representatives of the government to appear in a subsequent episode to discuss the issue. The Singapore government declined."

Indeed, it was precisely because of this hypocrisy that I dedicated a lamentation to 25 year old Australian Nguyen Tuong Van (arrested when he was only 21), hung by Singapore for the crime of attempting to smuggle heroin (probably from Myanmar’s Golden Triangle) to Australia.

Please see
distant bells & distant chimes and my broadside at a so-called perfect country.

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