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Burma 2010: The Economic Shakedown and the Backstage of the Theatre of War

 article about  Burma 2010: The Economic Shakedown and the Backstage of the Theatre of War
2010-04-13 02:33:43
The Sun Maker Special News Feature: Written by The Sun Maker and Michael John Chahine

The Global Fund will return to Burma with a two-year US $110 million grant to fight three diseases: HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The Defacto rate is referred to as the difference that occurs when changing currencies within a country or outside its borders. Currency are always shifting, however Burma currency has become a master in shape shifting. The problem with the local Burman currency, the Kyat, is that inside the country is has a significant different value than outside the country, this brings forward corruption as well as NGO scams, AID money scams, and other local economic violence schemes.

According to Irrawaddy.org; "In August 2005, the Global Fund, the world's leading donr of grants to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, terminated its anti-AIDS program in Burma. The five-year program would have provided more than US $98 million. At the time, the fund said that the military regime had placed prohibitive restrictions on the implementation of its aid.

Global Fund said the decision to terminate its projects was made in the light of "the [Burmese] government's newly established clearance procedures restricting access of the principal recipient [the UN Development Programme], certain sub-recipients, as well as the staff of Global Fund and its agents, to grant-implementation areas."

As mentioned, outside the country the Kyat is completely useless, countries in the region will not accept kyat as money notes. Inside Burma 1 USD can be traded for 6.4 Kyat, and 100 USD would be worth approximately 640 Kyat. But outside the country the Burmese government trades it local currency at different rates, they trade 1 USD for as much as 100 USD.

When foreign currency wishes to enter the country of Burma, it will usually do so via banks in Singapore. So if 1 million USD enters Burma, it could be worth in the Black Market some where from 400 to 600 million Kyat. Therefore only 6.4 million Kyat are traded or converted and the remaining would never even be converted from Kyat. This non converted percentage would be stored in foreign accounts, according to confidential sources, in Singapore banks.

In the 1980s Ne Win under the Bodaws advice, changed the currency denominations that were divisible by the magic number 9, for example 45 ky and 90 kyat notes. This outrageous action was effected overnight without warning, of course the Military and their cronies had their share of the new currency, whilst most of the population suffered great losses.

The Official Govt rate is 6 to $1 USD. The de facto rate (REAL TERMS) or the $USD varies from 800 -1200Ky which can be obtained in the Black Market in Border areas of Thailand Northern border area region. The main bank for this is the Kambawza Bank controlled by Aung Ko Win Grandson of no 2 General Maung Aye, (this General´s background is Chinese, this restricts him from becoming the Juntas' Leader). This bank transfers Narco Money, extortion money and money from Military personnel from corrupt activities. The Scam is that all AID (NGO contributions etc) money is exchanged at 6 to the Dollar... then converted through banks controlled by certain Generals families who then transfer these funds to Singaporean banks or use SWIFT(2003) to secret Bank accounts in Singapore and other safe haven Junta Friendly Countries, and other countries, however the preferred destination is Singapore.

This has lead to many problems when working with foreign aid, and assistance. Local on ground sources and witness report about the Human Rights violence perpetuated in constant oppression to people of Burma, by the Burma Junta Government. Several sources claim that during the Cyclone Disaster, the media covered the lack of accessibility of international aids to reach the hands of the affected people. South East Asia, sources say, that NGOs are onto the scam and are negotiating better deals (anywhere between 600-800 Kyats). What has been revealed to this media is that not only was there problem of getting the Aid to the people, but the problem consisted in both logistics, and corruption. Sources claim that the incoming international aid was changed for stored away aid, which was expired in many cases. In other words, Junta Government exchanged the incoming aid for expired, "useBy date", from Burmese Military Stores. The new aid was put into military supplies, and the stored goods, where given to the people as International Aid. This they said, "is a symbol of how far the government situation is willing to affect its the heart and soul of the Burmese citizens." The switched aid was handed out by local militia, referred by some as the Swine Militia, and named by government as Swan-Arr-Shin, this translates into Master of Force, or capable people of power. An onground source said he had discussions, in those days, with American Navy personal who where outside the city to deliver aid, he claims the military personal revealed that they where unfortunately going to have to return the US military vessel loaded with aid for the people affected by the Cyclone, because local government and port authorities of Burma where demanding 5 million US dollars as Docking Fees, to dock in the Burmese port. A lot of the aid did not get through. This is yet another deep symbol of the aid and control situation in Burma, and how it can lead to corruption and human rights violations. Sources have also stated that aid assistance teams where delayed by VISA offices up to one month. The reason for this delay is that, according to government spokesperson, a fire broke out accidentally in the VISA offices. The millions of dollars that go into Burma every year for aid can be found online.


Crowd Control and Military Roles

Amung the people of Burma, and most definitely amung the students, workers and activists of the democracy for Burma, the Swine Militia (Junta Operative), civilian dressed personel, recruited from the criminal arenas, mercenaries, and mafia, infiltrates the organisations. Onground sources claim that these men are paid up to 2000 kyat for taking in activist and demonstrators, as well as for seaking and taking into custody the listed and wanted. The Swan-Arr-Shin, translates into Master of Force, or capable people of power, referred by some as the Swine Militia. They can be easily identified in all demonstrations, or when a political activists are making a speech. In many videos of Aung Suu Yi Kyi, talking to a crowd, Swan-Arr.Shin, dressed in civilians cloths, can be seen in the background. Sometimes in dark sunglasses, they attempt to blend, as they pass on information and talk on the phone. In street demonstrations, where Monks are beaten, kicked and forced to sit on the floor, and military transportation takes away the demonstrators, it is many times these civilian dressed Swine Militia that load the demonstrators themselves into the military transport. The military transports are filled to the top, and they drive away leaving some high ranked military presence in the zone, and hunderd of shoes in the ground left as a reminder of the unexplainable and improbable destiny of those arrested. This militia can be referred as taking part of information services, secret policing, and secret services. They are as well versatile in spying, infiltration and other strategies of pressure and force. They are responsible for the splinting of the opposition groups by means of hostile activity.

The Natural Resources and the Military Agenda

In May 28, 2007, Aljazeera reported on Burma, in the end an online article they state "After all, the government is enjoying millions of dollars in new investment in natural gas research, oil exploration and hydro-electric projects from Thailand, China and India, among others."

Naypyidaw is the new capital of Burma, built under the advice of a Bodaw. Napyidaw does not have power restrictions, nor does any government controlled Corporate factory or business. Burma seeking expansion, is moving into hydroelectricity, however the total percentage of the budget placed in military development is bringing concerns to other areas. The Burmese Junta is embarking on Nuclear power. If we consider that a country like Burma that has a significant quantity of gas and oil, and that from which Thailand imports 30% of its energy needs, the issue of Burmese Energy and developments can be considered as one of the greatest Economic Human rights in History.

The Irrawaddy reported on Burma's Nuclear ambitions on January 21, 2010, they stated, "Assurances of peaceful intentions arouse only scepticism. Burma's confirmation of plans to build a 10-megawatt nuclear reactor with the help of Russia's federal atomic energy agency Rosatom has created nervousness and anxiety among Burma observers."

The Sydney Morning Herald revealed in August 1st, 2009 a more concerning news. The story reads online , "Burma's isolated military junta is building a secret nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction facilities with North Korean help, with the aim of acquiring its first nuclear bomb in five years, according to evidence from key defectors revealed in an exclusive Herald report today."

There are growing number of energy Nuclear developments, throughout the World, although all are tainted with the negative impression that always follows to the word nuclear, not all energy nuclear developments become dangerously linked to other uses of nuclear technology. These are uses of military characteristics. To link Burma's Nuclear card playing with North Korea is for some to link them directly with Iran.

The Independent UK also reports on the concerns of Burma Nuclear development, they stated; "Two of Asia's most oppressive regimes may have joined forces to develop a nuclear arsenal, according to strategic experts who have analysed information supplied by a pair of Burmese defectors."

Regarding environment, the flooding of the Salween Damp in Burma, to build a hydroelectric development, has been the cause for many environmental discontent. Environmentalist state this damp, is very dangerous for the overall health of the regional and habitat.

In the words of Burmacampaign.org.uk; "Threatened with plans by Burma's generals to dam the Salween river and submerge vast tracts of their homelands, the Karenni are releasing a new report today which exposes the parallels between the devastating impacts of Burma's first large scale hydropower project, built in their state, and those of the planned Salween dams. The report highlights the destructive mix of development and military rule in Burma."

There are also several news stories published or broadcasted by the main stream media, that report on US or regional forces of South East Asia, intercepting military weapons and machinery, missiles and nuclear equipment. The target of these interceptions have been airplanes and ships. Their origin; North Korea. Destination, most likely and sometimes verified beyond doubt; Burma.

So, if there is relative coverage and significant international pressure, why is the Burmese Junta still in control of the government? And what is the best way for Burmese people to find a free society? We posed these questions to Michael Chahine, one of our sources, with years of onground experience in South East Asia.

Read part 2 and 3 at The Sun Maker
http://www.sun-maker.com/2010/01/burma-2010-economic-shakedown-and_23.html




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