10/5/7 Myanmar Dilemma: "Soft Power: Democracy-Promotion and U.S. NGOs" ; Spy Agencies in Global Democracy drive

Digest commentary:
Here, there, everywhere: "Democratic Opposition" is just another word for U.S. imperialism
Myanmar/Burma's hyper-propagandized 'democratic uprising' is part of the U.S. geostrategic agenda, especially in Asia, spelled out over a decade ago by neoliberal imperialist Zbigniew Brzezinski and still adhered to. Key to U.S. hegemony is control of energy and oil resources to leverage dominance over friends as well as enemies worldwide.

The use of * NGOs in 'strategic non-violence' pro-democracy revolutions' is part of overall U.S. military strategy to destabilize, divide and dominate nations in its global war to secure 'manifest destiny'.

Israel, U.S. #1 proxy and partner in state terrorist goals, plays a critical role behind the scenes -- totally protected by the capitalist media from criticism by charges of 'anti-semitism' -- in pursuit of a shared final solution for supremacy: destroying sovereign Arab nations and nationalist resistance for 'greater israel', a racist jewish state encompassing all of Palestine, which will continue to be the well-groomed and protected guard-dog of what is fantasized as a U.S. dominated world.

* Information is well-documented and readily available on the internet -- and of course 'freely' suppressed by U.S. official media and capitalist funded 'alternative'/'leftgatekeepers'.


1997 A geostrategy for Eurasia, by Zbigniew Brzezinski
Foreign Affairs,76:5, September/October 1997 Council on Foreign Relations Inc.

Guidelines for U.S. Policy in Southeast Asia
by Walter Lohman,
Senior Research Fellow for Southeast Asia and Acting Director of the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.
March 20, 2007
Southeast Asia's half-billion people reside in the most dynamic area of the world. China, a rising eco­nomic and military power with an economy of more than $2 trillion and a population of over 1 billion, sits on their northern doorstep. India, another billion-per­son nation, is outside their western door. Japan, which has the world's second largest economy, and South Korea, a country with such energy that it maintains an economy the size of India's with only 5 percent of India's population, are each a short flight away.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—composed of Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam—faces the challenge of safe­guarding its interests and prospering in this hyper­competitive neighborhood. The United States has an overarching interest in seeing that it succeeds while also remaining independent and outward-looking.

Securing this strategic imperative relies on two mutually reinforcing approaches to the region: bilat­eral and U.S.–ASEAN. While bilateral approaches to the countries are absolutely necessary, they are not sufficient. Without a coherent, robust U.S. approach to the region as a whole, the grouping will develop its common interests in association with alternative bene­factors—likely China. In such a scenario, the interests of the U.S. and its partners in the region will drift apart. The U.S. has too much at stake in the region to let this happen.

The current state of democratic development in ASEAN is diverse, complex, and fluid. [George Soros'] Freedom House's annual index lists one ASEAN member country as "free," three as "partly free," and six as "not free."... By far the largest, most important regional power in the "not free" category is Vietnam. While this characterization is clearly correct, economic reforms have transformed the Vietnamese economy over the past 20 years. In short, Vietnam is opening to the world.

Burma presents the opposite case, with the situa­tion showing no basis for improvement. In his most recent report, U.N. Special Rapporteur for Burma Paulo Pinheiro declared that the regime's democra­tization effort is essentially null and void...
Burma damages ASEAN's standing in the world, bogs down its processes, and inhibits its global engagement, weakening ASEAN. ASEAN has begun to recognize this. Criticism has surfaced in the joint statements of its heads of states and foreign minis­ters. In July 2006, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid expressed ASEAN's collective frustration: "ASEAN has now reached a stage where it is not possible to defend its member when that member is not making an attempt to cooperate or help itself.".

There are no easy answers to the problem of Burma. The best the U.S. can do is to keep it on the international agenda, build on ASEAN's doubts, and bring pressure to bear where and when possible....

ASEAN can be much greater than the sum of its parts. It can grow strong and remain independent, and it can be a reliable U.S. partner far into the future. It is this long-term vision that should be the basis of U.S. foreign policy aspirations.

The purpose of this paper is to lay out the stakes involved, guidelines for securing them, and specific policy recommendations.

America's Stake in Southeast Asia
The U.S. has major economic, political, and secu­rity interests in Southeast Asia. ...
In addition to its focus on counterterrorism, the U.S. military presence in the region is indis­pensable to hedging against a burgeoning Chinese military capability....

Beyond geopolitics, what is most tangibly at stake is the security of sea lines of communication and resources of the South China Sea and who guaran­tees regional security. According to the Energy Information Administration, "more than half of the world's annual merchant fleet tonnage, with the majority continuing on into the South China Sea," passes through the straits around Indonesia. This includes "more than 80% of crude oil supplies for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan." Estimates of oil reserves in the South China Sea range from 28 bil­lion barrels to as high as a Chinese estimate of 213 billion barrels. If proved, the lower total would rank it just after Nigeria; the higher total would rank it just after Saudi Arabia. [...]

[ [all emphases in this issue by the digest]

Spy agencies analyse role in global drive for democracy
Financial Times
June 16, 2006

In the first meeting of its kind, the cream of the US intelligence community's strategic analysts recently huddled behind closed doors in Washington, with academics and experts from the US and Europe, to talk about building global democracy.
The conference follows an initiative led by John Negroponte, the new director of national intelligence, to get the diverse US intelligence community more deeply involved with US efforts at democracy assistance - analytically and in the field...
Non-government participants said there was no sense of cloak and dagger. They also admitted they would probably never know how Mr Negroponte's project would turn out, in terms of covert activities and strategic advice to the president. "This is a laudable effort by the analytical intelligence community to learn from open sources," said Larry Diamond, a leader of democracy projects at Stanford University, who chaired the conference...

The conference was hosted by the National Intelligence Council and the State Department's own intelligence wing.

Experts said the discussions took place against a backdrop of two parallel crises that are playing out behind the scenes in Washington's complex world of democracy promotion.

Firstly, neo-conservatives and their critics broadly agree that the administration's freedom agenda - forcefully expressed by President George W. Bush inhis second inaugural address 18 months ago - is in disarray.

In testimony to a Senate committee last week, experts described how a collapse in US credibility worldwide - through prison abuse and torture scandals, secret detentions and the carnage in Iraq - had made it easier for autocrats, both friendly and hostile to the US, to resist and sometimes reverse the democratic tide. Russia, China, Egypt, Venezuela and central Asia were singled out.

At the same time, a split has emerged between and within US non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in democracy promotion.
The issues revolve around how closely associated they should be with an official US freedom agenda that, through the invasion of Iraq, has become easily confused with "regime change". Several NGO boards have held fierce internal debates over the "grey area" between democracy promotion and regime change, how to maintain transparency and when "covert" activities are justified. A drive by Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, to take control of the administration's democracy spending away from quasi-independent intermediaries has added to the discomfort of NGOs that see their own independence jeopardised.
The State Department's Iran-Syria Operations Group was "trying to push money out the door" to back organisations working for democratic change in those countries, said one adviser.

Some NGOs, for example [Soros'] Freedom House, have quietly accepted the funding. Others have refused, saying they want to remain transparent and keep their distance from the US. "It's dog eats dog in the democracy-building world," said one board member, who asked not to be named.
He said the split was most evident in a rift between the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a grant-making NGO funded by Congress and set up in the cold war, and Freedom House, which is taking a much more aggressive stance in supporting peaceful movements and activities directed at regime change. Keeping a distance from the US government was "absolutely critical", Carl Gershman, head of NED, told a Senate hearing. "Our credibility is at stake." But Mark Palmer, vice-chairman of Freedom House said the US government should be a radical democratising agent and close co-operation with US embassies in the field was good.

U.S. Human Rights and Democracy Strategy

Democracy Promotion as Policy
Paul J. Saunders
Morton H. Halperin
Updated: June 2, 2006
The Bush administration has put democracy promotion at the center of its foreign policy, linking the spread of freedom to the fight against terrorism. Democracy advocates applaud the emphasis on reform but fault the administration for inconsistency. Foreign policy "realists," meanwhile, say it is naïve and counterproductive to press crucial allies on reforms and risk harming relations that are essential to global stability.
Paul J. Saunders, executive director of the Nixon Center, a former senior advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, and associate publisher of the National Interest; and Morton H. Halperin, director of U.S. Advocacy for the Open Society Institute, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and a former high-level State Department and National Security Council official, discuss the merits of democracy promotion in U.S. policy in this CFR Online Debate. http://www.cfr.org/publication/10784/democracy_promotion_as_policy.html

Soft Power: Democracy-Promotion and U.S. NGOs
Alexandra Silver
Council on Foreign Relations
March 17, 2006
* Introduction
* What is the value of independent organizations promoting democracy?
* Do these organizations have political leanings?
* What does NED and its affiliates do?
* What are some other major independent American organizations that promote democracy

* Introduction
* What is the value of independent organizations promoting democracy?
* Do these organizations have political leanings?
* What does NED and its affiliates do?
* What are some other major independent American organizations that promote democracy?

Democracy-promotion has long been an aspect of U.S. foreign policy, but it became a central component after September 11. The U.S. government has several channels for promoting democracy, most notably the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI); and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which provides funds to nations that already meet certain democratic standards. But a plethora of U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) also exist for this purpose, with varying degrees of financial dependency on the government. In recent years, their budgets have increased dramatically. Their activities include election-monitoring, educating citizens about their rights, and working with legislators, judges, and the media.
What is the value of independent organizations promoting democracy?

NGOs "think differently and have a different perspective and different analysis from the State Department," says Thomas O. Melia, deputy executive director of Freedom House and author of the report, "The Democracy Bureaucracy: The Infrastructure of American Democracy Promotion." While their work often overlaps, the organizations offer different methods and programs around the world, and Melia suggests pluralism in this field is helpful.
However, the majority of these institutes receive funding from the U.S. government, and Justin Logan, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute, is skeptical of their role. Logan does not subscribe to democracy-promotion as a foreign policy goal, arguing it is essentially regime change. Private institutes like financier George Soros' Open Society Institute may be able to make progress toward opening some societies, but Logan says the government—even if it's achieving its aims by supporting NGOs—should not be involved. Some argue NGOs can hinder and even work against U.S. interests.
Do these organizations have political leanings? [equating 'political' with electoral affiliation obscures bipartisan imperialist nature of NGOs]
Most of the organizations are very sensitive about being associated with any political party, and all claim to be neutral. "It's a misreading of these groups to think of them in a partisan way, for most intents and purposes," says Melia. He notes, however, "We can't be value-neutral in promoting democracy."

NED, the biggest American NGO focused on democracy-promotion, distributes equal amounts of funds to four affiliated institutes: the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Center for Independent Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity ("Solidarity Center"). CIPE and the Solidarity Center are meant to balance the interests of business with those of labor.

NED, the biggest American NGO focused on democracy-promotion, distributes equal amounts of funds to four affiliated institutes: the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Center for Independent Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity ("Solidarity Center"). CIPE and the Solidarity Center...

The ASEAN Bloc's Myanmar Dilemma
Council on Foreign Relations
October 2, 2007
With the shakeout from Myanmar’s late September protests still unclear, international attention turns to the diplomatic turmoil sparked by the unrest, most notably among Myanmar’s neighbors. Outrage over Myanmar’s apparent government clampdown on protestors placed the ten states of ASEAN—the Association of South East Asian Nations, which includes Myanmar—in an uncomfortable bind. The Financial Times says the Myanmar question is the “biggest political crisis” faced by the forty-year-old bloc and comes at a “sensitive time when the group is about to launch moves to promote closer integration.”
The response to the Myanmar crackdown among ASEAN member states has been mixed. ASEAN foreign ministers, meeting at the UN in New York, issued a statement condemning the use of automatic weapons on protestors and urging Myanmar’s government to “exercise utmost restraint and seek a political solution.” Yet beyond such statements of concern, analysts see little chance of ASEAN members taking harsher steps like economic sanctions... Bloc member Thailand relies on Myanmar’s natural gas for 20 percent of its electricity generation, and Singapore and Malaysia compete for
With the international outcry also growing, efforts by ASEAN countries to retain economic ties with Myanmar now threaten to erode trade deals with other countries. A member of the European Parliament told Reuters that disagreements over Myanmar could impede progress toward a potential free trade deal between the EU and ASEAN.

Non-ASEAN countries in the region have also remained relatively quiet in their response to the reported government crackdown on demonstrators. Japan, Myanmar’s largest aid donor, demanded the Myanmar government end its crackdown (AP) following the killing of a Japanese photojournalist in Yangon—but threats of punitive economic measures have yet to produce any concrete policy. Myanmar’s largest trading partner, China, has already resisted talk of sanctions, even amid some calls in the West to threaten a boycott of the Beijing Olympics if China refuses stronger action. India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mujkherjee expressed deep “concerns” about Myanmar at an October 1 talk at CFR, but India has come out against sanctions (Business Standard) on Myanmar. Yet even if calls for sanctions succeed, the FT’s Gideon Rachman notes that they might “achieve nothing in the short term” and could cause lasting damage by deepening Myanmar’s isolation and punishing only its citizens, not its government.

The events in Myanmar are likely to dominate discussion at ASEAN’s annual meetings this November in Singapore. They also raise new questions about the group’s relevance. A Heritage Foundation report from March 2007 examines the group’s potential power as a U.S. ally in the global war on terror, given the emergence of terrorist activity in some ASEAN member states. A 2006 CFR roundtable discussion on emerging Asia focused on ASEAN’s successes as a trade bloc. But the Economist, in a piece published weeks before the current unrest, says ASEAN once “seemed important” but that the “failure to win any concessions from Myanmar has badly tarnished its credibility.” ...

Note: Celebrating the usefulness of religion, NGOs and 'non-violence' for imperialist intervention and domination
Burma's Revolt of The Spirit
Michael J. Gerson, Roger Hertog Senior Fellow
September 28, 2007
Washington Post

The great virtue of Buddhism is serene courage in the face of inevitable affliction. That courage is on display now in Burma — a nation caught upon the wheel of suffering. The sight of young, barefoot monks in cinnamon robes quietly marching for democracy, amid crowds carrying banners reading “love and kindness,” is already a symbol of conscience for a young century. On closer examination, these protests have also shown that nonviolence need not be tame or toothless. The upside-down bowls carried by some of the monks signal that they will not accept alms from the leaders of the regime, denying them the ability to atone for bad deeds or to honor their ancestors. These chanting monks are playing spiritual hardball.
Once again — as in the American civil rights struggle and the end of communism in Eastern Europe — religion is proving to be an uncontrollable force in an oppressive society. Religious dissidents have the ability not only to organize opposition to tyrants but also to shame them. Political revolutions often begin as revolutions of the spirit....

International NGOs Operation in Burma
Government Organized Non-governmental Organizations in Burma (GONGOs)
The following organizations are, with some exceptions primarily among those affiliated with religious groups, extensions of government agencies and frequently organized along military lines. For more information on GONGO's in Burma, see Gustaaf Houtman's book on Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics. [among them:]
Myanmar Red Cross Society
Young Men's Buddhist Association
Myanmar Christian Health Workers Services Association
Myanmar Council of Churches
Myanmar Baptist Convention
Young Women's Christian Association
National Christian Leprosy Mission of Myanmar
Hindu Central Board
Myanmar Women Entrepreneurs Association
The Salvation Army
Myanmar Young Crusaders Nation Reaching Nationals Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation
Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association (FREDA)
Kachin Baptist Convention
Hiking and Mountaineering League
May Chapman School for the Deaf
Myanmar Christian Fellowship to the Blind
Thirimay Women's Cooperative
Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)


Gas from Myanmar
In recent times, there has been huge finds of gas reserves in Myanmar....

Between 1989 and 1994, private foundations spent $450 million in Eastern Europe. Among the recipients were important officials and advisers in various countries. By 1995, there were 29,000 NGOs in the Czech Republic, 20,000 in Poland, and similar numbers in other countries. "They were almost entirely supported by foreign corporations, foundations, governments, political parties and international institutions such as the European Union and the World Bank."

George Soros is perhaps the single most significant private funder to the region. Soros foundations can be found in 34 countries around the globe, 26 of them in Eastern Europe and the former USSR. The recent 'revolution' in Georgia was backed among others by Soros (see Jacob Levich, "When NGOs Attack: Implications of the Coup in Georgia", http://www.counterpunch.com/, 6/12/03). Soros, the NED and other western funding agencies have a hand in the current crisis in Ukraine (see "US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev", Ian Traynor, 26/11/04, The Guardian; "Western aggression: How the US and Britain are intervening in Ukraine’s elections", John Laughland, The Spectator, 5/11/04, globalresearch.ca/articles/LAU411A.html; "IMF Sponsored 'Democracy' in The Ukraine", Michel Chossudovsky, 28/11/04, globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO411D.html)

Note: A 'detail ignored': Amy Goodman, whose "democracy now!" earns liberal- imperialist funding from some of the same U.S. funders behind the 'saffron'- color -revolution", disingenuously bolsters US imperialism by creating differentiation between U.S. finance and corporate capital, and the State.

Chevron's Pipeline: The Burmese Regime's Lifeline
By Amy Goodman
The barbarous military regime depends on revenue from the nation's gas reserves and partners such as Chevron, a detail ignored by the Bush administration.

The post-Watergate enquiries into the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US exposed details of its covert political activities in other countries in order to promote US foreign policy objectives. Amongst such activities were the secret funding of individuals, political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) favourable to US interests and funneling of money to counter the activities of those considered anti-US....

After the collapse of the communist regimes of East Europe, the NED has been focussing its activities against the communist regimes of Cuba, Vietnam, China and North Korea and the Myanmarese military regime and against the resurgence of the communist parties in East Europe due to the economic difficulties there.

Its activities relating to China are of two kinds: Those, which are legitimate in the Chinese perception such as training of local village officials in the holding of elections, training of local business executives in better management practices, advice on the drafting of economic reform legislation etc and those, which are legitimate in the US perception, but interference in internal affairs in the Chinese view, such as support to political dissidents, human rights activists and Tibetan exiles and projection of Taiwan as a democratic model worthy of emulation.

The first type of activities is carried out by workers of organisations affiliated to the NED, either based in China or visiting the country and the second by off-shore offices of the NED, which were located in Hong Kong before its reversion to China in June, 1997, and which were thereafter reportedly shifted to Australia since the ASEAN countries would not host them. Finding Australia not a convenient place, the NED has reportedly been eyeing India as a possible base for its activities directed against China.

Beijing has reasons to be concerned over what it considers as the illegitimate activities of the NED. Of the 28 NGOs of Asia funded by the NED, 14 focus on China, four of them of Tibetan exiles, five on Myanmar, two on Cambodia, and one each on Vietnam and North Korea and the remaining five on the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

In his testimony of March 13,1997, before the House Sub-committee on International Operations and Human Rights, Mr.Gershman said:" There has been a doubling of resources spent in Asia (primarily China, Burma and Cambodia) and a tripling of resources for the Middle East. There were also dramatic increases in Central Asia and the former Yugoslavia...While the discretionary programmes and those of our affiliated labour institute support the activities of various pro-democracy networks, among them Human Rights in China, the China Strategic Institute, the Laogai Research Foundation, and the Hong Kong based activities of labour activist Han Dongfang, IRI and CIPE have targeted opportunities created by the official reform policy in the areas of local elections and economic modernisation.Additional grants support the democracy movements in Hong Kong and Tibet and,through the International Forum, we have highlighted the role of Taiwan as an Asian model of successful democratisation."

The trans-border activities of the NED against the Myanmarese military regime seem to be directed mainly from Thailand and India. This is evident from a testimony given by Ms.Louisa Coan, NED's Programme Officer for Asia, before the House Sub-committee on Asia and the Pacific on September 17,1997. She said: "NED has been able through its direct grants programme to support the dissidents, to support the democracy movement of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, particularly through assistance to the groups along the borders in Thailand and in India, including twice daily radio programming through the Democratic Voice of Burma (author's comment: based in Scandinavia), newsletters, underground newspaper, underground labour organising, particular programmes to foster inter-ethnic co-operation and unity among the opposition forces in support of Aung San Suu Kyi's call for tripartite dialogue and national reconciliation."

It is not known whether New Delhi was aware of the India-based activities of the NED against the Yangon regime.

Before the recent visit of the US President, Mr.Bill Clinton, to India, the NED headquarters in Washington issued the following press release: "Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced on Tuesday March 14 that the US and India will launch a joint non-governmental initiative called the Asian Centre for Democratic Governance during President Clinton's upcoming trip to South Asia.

"Jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the NED, the Centre will be based at CII's offices in New Delhi, The Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training, an affiliate of the Indian Parliament, will partner with the CII in implementing the activities of the Centre."

The press release said the expenditure on the initiative would be shared by the CII and the NED.

It is an interesting case of an important member of the Clinton Cabinet, announcing on behalf of a self-proclaimed NGO of the US funded by the Congress, a non-governmental initiative in collaboration with a non-governmental Indian business organisation with which an office of the Indian Parliament would also be associated. This launching was duly done at New Delhi.
There are three likely implications of this unusual venture:
* Possibility of misunderstanding with China which might interpret it as directed against it and its presence in Tibet.
* Impropriety in co-operating with an American organisation working against the present Government at Yangon, which has normal diplomatic relations with New Delhi and has been co-operating in counter-insurgency measures in the North-East.
* The presence in Indian territory, with official blessing, of an organisation, which aims to wipe out communism as a political and ideological movement all over the world and which might utilise its presence to undermine the Indian communist movement. NED has never criticised the Indian Communist parties, but a reading of the past statements of those in the US supporting the NED would indicate that they hold communism and democracy as incompatible.

The US has also announced the association of India as co-sponsor with a forthcoming conference of "communities of democracies " in Poland being funded by the Stefan Batory Foundation of Poland, set up by George Soros in 1998, to counter the resurgence of communism in East Europe, and the Freedom House of the US.

The Freedom House was founded in the 1940s "to strengthen free institutions at home and abroad". It played an active role in carrying on a psychological warfare (psywar) against the troops of the USSR and the late President Najibullah in Afghanistan during the 1980s through the Afghanistan Information Centre set up by it, allegedly with CIA funds. The offices of this centre at Peshawar in Pakistan trained the Afghan Mujahideen groups and Pakistani organisations such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (formerly known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, presently active in Kashmir, in techniques of media management and psywar.

Since 1983, part of the funds voted by the Congress to the NED are funneled to the Freedom House, which also gets contributions from the private sector. The Freedom House focuses its activities on media and communications and, according to a 1990 study by the Interhemispherique Resource Centre of the US, more than 400 journalists in 55 countries were collaborating with the Freedom House in its activities... Before going ahead with these projects, there is an urgent need for an examination of the implications of our collaboration with such organisations from the point of view of our national security and political stability.
B.RAMAN 13.4.2000 Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute for TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: corde@vsnl.com

U.S. gets a little democratic help from its proxy...
Israel Lies About Selling Weapons to Myanmar/Burma Government:
From the World War IV Report:
Israeli military aid to Burmese regime: Jane's
Submitted by David Bloom
The Burmese junta currently shooting unarmed protestors received a cynical plea for restraint from the Israel government on Sept. 29. According to the Israeli paper Ha'aretz, the Israeli foreign ministry announced "Israel is concerned by the situation in Myanmar, and urges the government to demonstrate restraint and refrain from harming demonstrators." The article ended by pointing out that "Israel denies selling weapons to Burma or Myanmar." (Ha'aretz, Sept. 29)
Not true, according a March 1, 2000 report in the authoritative British publication Jane's Intelligence Review by William Ashton. The article, titled "Myanmar and Israel develop military," details how Israeli companies and the Israeli government have been supplying and developing weapons for the Burmese regime, and sharing intelligence:
In August 1997 it was revealed that the Israeli defence manufacturing company Elbit had won a contract to upgrade Myanmar's (then) three squadrons of Chinese-built F-7 fighters and FT-7 trainers. The F-7 is a derivative of the Mikoyan MiG-21 'Fishbed' jet fighter.
WWIVReport Proof of more Israeli weapons sold to Myanmar's ruling junta, machine guns and artillery pieces, in JANE's Intelligence Review.

"... Israel is the subcontractor for American arms to the 'Third World.' There is no terrible regime-Colombia, Guatemala, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile during the time of the colonels, Burma, Taiwan, Zaire, Liberia, Congo, Sierra Leone-there is not one that does not have a major military connection to Israel.... So this is the missing piece... Israel is a key member of the empire."

Soros the "Imperial Wizard" and U.S. Strategic Non-Violence
Washington's New World Order "Democratization" Template:
by Jonathan Mowat 9 February 2005

'Strategic nonviolent struggle is all about political power.' And I thought, 'Boy is this guy speaking my language,' that is what armed struggle is about."
Col. Robert Helvey

...Much of the coup apparatus is the same that was used in the overthrow of President Fernando Marcos of the Philippines in 1986, the Tiananmen Square destabilization in 1989, and Vaclav Havel's "Velvet revolution" in Czechoslovakia in 1989.

As in these early operations, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and its primary arms, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), played a central role. The NED was established by the Reagan Administration in 1983, to do overtly, what the CIA had done covertly, in the words of one its legislative drafters, Allen Weinstein.
The Cold War propaganda and operations center, Freedom House , now chaired by former CIA director James Woolsey, has also been involved, as were billionaire George Soros' foundations, whose donations always dovetail those of the NED.

What is new about the template bears on the use of the Internet (in particular chat rooms, instant messaging, and blogsites) and cell phones (including text-messaging), to rapidly steer angry and suggestible "Generation X" youth into and out of mass demonstrations and the like -- a capability that only emerged in the mid-1990s....

A Civilian Revolution in Military Affairs
The emphasis on the use of new communication technologies to rapidly deploy small groups, suggests we are seeing is civilian application of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's "Revolution in Military Affairs" doctrine, which depends on highly mobile small group deployments "enabled" by "real time" intelligence and communications.

Squads of soldiers taking over city blocks with the aid of "intelligence helmet" video screens that give them an instantaneous overview of their environment, constitute the military side. Bands of youth converging on targeted intersections in constant dialogue on cell phones, constitute the doctrine's civilian application. This parallel should not be surprising since the US military and National Security Agency subsidized the development of the Internet, cellular phones, and software platforms. From their inception, these technologies were studied and experimented with in order to find the optimal use in a new kind of warfare. The "revolution" in warfare that such new instruments permit has been pushed to the extreme by several specialists in psychological warfare. Although these military utopians have been working in high places (for example the RAND) for a very long time, to a large extent they only took over some of the most important command structures of the US military apparatus with the victory of the "neo-conservatives" in the Pentagon of Donald Rumsfeld.

The new techniques of warfare include the use of both lethal (violent) and non lethal (non violent) tactics. Both ways are conducted using the same philosophy, infrastructure, and modus operandi. It is what is known as Cyberwar. For example, the tactic of swarming is a fundamental element in both violent and non violent forms of warfare. This new philosophy of war, which is supposed to replicate the strategy of Genghis Khan as enhanced by modern technologies, is intended to aid both military and non-military assaults against targeted states through what are, in effect, "high tech" hordes. In that sense there is not difference, from the standpoint of the plotters, between Iraq or Ukraine, if only that many think the Ukraine-like coup is more effective and easier.

Indicative of the common objective are the comments of the theoreticians of the post modern coup, for example, Dr. Peter Ackerman, the author of "Strategic Nonviolent Conflict" (Praeger 1994). Writing in the "National Catholic Reporter" on April 26, 2002, Dr. Ackerman offered the following corrective to Bush's Axis of Evil speech targeting Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, which he otherwise approved: "It is not true that the only way to 'take out' such regimes is through U.S. military action."

Speaking at the "Secretary's Open Forum" at the State Department on June 29, 2004, in a speech entitled, "Between Hard and Soft Power: The Rise of Civilian-Based Struggle and Democratic Change, " Ackerman elaborated on the concept involved. He proposed that youth movements, such as those used to bring down Serbia, could bring down Iran and North Korea, and could have been used to bring down Iraq--thereby accomplishing all of Bush's objectives without relying on military means. And he reported that he has been working with the top US weapons designer, Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, on developing new communications technologies that could be used in other youth movement insurgencies. "There is no question that these technologies are democratizing," he stressed, in reference to their potential use in bringing down China, "they enable decentralized activity. They create, if you will, a digital concept of the right of assembly."

Dr. Ackerman is the founding chairman of International Center on Nonviolent Conflicts in Washington D.C, of which former US Air Force officer Jack DuVall is President. Together with former CIA director James Woolsey, DuVall also directs the Arlington Institute of Washington D.C., which was created by former Chief of Naval Operations advisor John L. Peterson in 1989 " to help redefine the concept of national security in much larger, comprehensive terms" it reports, through introducing "social value shifts into the traditional national defense equation." ...

As in the case of the new communication technologies, the potential effectiveness of angry youth in post modern coups has long been under study. As far back as 1967, Dr. Fred Emery, then director of the Tavistock Institute, and an expert on the "hypnotic effects" of television, specified that the then new phenomenon of "swarming adolescents" found at rock concerts could be effectively used to bring down the nation-state by the end of the 1990s. This was particularly the case, as Dr. Emery reported in "The next Thirty years: concepts, methods and anticipations,'' in the group's "Human Relations," because the phenomena was associated with "rebellious hysteria." The British Military created the Tavistock Institute as its psychological warfare arm following World War I; it has been the forerunner of such strategic planning ever since. Dr. Emery's concept saw immediate application in NATO's use of "swarming adolescents" in toppling French President Charles De Gaulle in 1967.

In November 1989, Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, under the aegis of that university's "Program for Social Innovations in Global Management," began a series of conferences to review progress towards that strategic objective, which was reported on in "Human Relations" in 1991. There, Dr. Howard Perlmutter, a professor of "Social Architecture'' at the Wharton School, and a follower of Dr. Emery, stressed that "rock video in Katmandu," was an appropriate image of how states with traditional cultures could be destabilized, thereby creating the possibility of a "global civilization." here are two requirements for such a transformation, he added, "building internationally committed networks of international and locally committed organizations,'' and "creating global events" through "the transformation of a local event into one having virtually instantaneous international implications through mass-media." (Perlmutter on the origin of the concept of globalization : see quote.)

This brings us to the final ingredient of these new coups--the deployment of polling agencies' "exit polls" broadcast on international television to give the false (or sometimes accurate) impression of massive vote-fraud by the ruling party, to put targeted states on the defensive. Polling operations in the recent coups have been overseen by such outfits as Penn, Schoen and Berland , top advisors to Microsoft and Bill Clinton. Praising their role in subverting Serbia, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (and later on Chairman of NDI ) , in an October 2000 letter to the firm quoted on its website, stated: "Your work with the National Democratic Institute and the Yugoslav opposition contributed directly and decisively to the recent breakthrough for democracy in that country...This may be one of the first instances where polling has played such an important role in setting and securing foreign policy objectives." Penn, Schoen, together with the OSCE, also ran the widely televised "exit poll" operations in the Ukrainian elections.

In the aftermath of such youth deployments and media operations, more traditional elements come to the fore. That is, the forceful, if covert, intervention by international institutions and governments threatening the targeted regime, and using well placed operatives within the targeted regime's military and intelligence services to ensure no countermeasures can be effectively deployed. Without these traditional elements, of course, no post modern coup could ever work. Or, as Jack DuVall put it in Jesse Walker's "Carnavel and conspiracy in Ukraine," in Reason Online, November 30, 2004, "You can't simply parachute Karl Rove into a country and manufacture a revolution." ...

In the aftermath of such youth deployments and media operations, more traditional elements come to the fore. That is, the forceful, if covert, intervention by international institutions and governments threatening the targeted regime, and using well placed operatives within the targeted regime's military and intelligence services to ensure no countermeasures can be effectively deployed. Without these traditional elements, of course, no post modern coup could ever work. Or, as Jack DuVall put it in Jesse Walker's "Carnavel and conspiracy in Ukraine," in Reason Online, November 30, 2004, "You can't simply parachute Karl Rove into a country and manufacture a revolution."

Gladio and James Bond get a youth group
The creation and deployment of coups of any kind requires agents on the ground. The main handler of these coups on the "street side" has been the Albert Einstein Institution, which was formed in 1983 as an offshoot of Harvard University under the impetus of Dr. Gene Sharp, and which specializes in "non violence as a form of warfare." Dr. Sharp had been the executive secretary of A.J. Muste, the famous U.S. Trotskyite labor organizer and peacenik. The group is funded by Soros and the NED. Albert Einstein's president is Col. Robert Helvey, a former US Army officer with 30 years of experience in South East Asia. He has served as the case officer for youth groups active in the Balkans and Eastern Europe since at least 1999.

Col. Helvey reports, in a January 29, 2001 interview with film producer Steve York in Belgrade, that he first got involved in "strategic nonviolence" upon seeing the failure of military approaches to toppling dictators--especially in Myanmar, where he had been stationed as military attaché--and seeing the potential of Sharp's alternative approach. According to B. Raman, the former director of India's foreign intelligence agency, RAW, in a December 2001 paper published by his institute entitled, "The USA's National Endowment For Democracy (NED): An Update," Helvey "was an officer of the Defence Intelligence Agency of the Pentagon, who had served in Vietnam and, subsequently, as the US Defence Attaché in Yangon, Myanmar (1983 to 85), during which he clandestinely organized the Myanmarese students to work behind Aung San Suu Kyi and in collaboration with Bo Mya's Karen insurgent group....He also trained in Hong Kong the student leaders from Beijing in mass demonstration techniques which they were to subsequently use in the Tiananmen Square incident of June, 1989" and "is now believed to be acting as an adviser to the Falun Gong, the religious sect of China, in similar civil disobedience techniques." Col. Helvey nominally retired from the army in 1991, but had been working with Albert Einstein and Soros long before then...

The Democratic party's National Democratic Institute, the Republican party's International Republican Institute, the US State Department and USAID are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaigns as well as the Freedom House NGO and billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute .

About OSI and the Soros Foundations Network
The Open Society Institute (OSI) is a private operating and grantmaking foundation based in New York City that serves as the hub of the Soros foundations network, a group of autonomous foundations and organizations in more than 50 countries.

Who is behind Human Rights Watch?
Billionaire financier George Soros, for one. How an elite-controlled dialogue on "human rights" is used to justify US interventionism...

When NGOs Attack: Implications of the Coup in Georgia
By Jacob Levich
Nongovernmental organizations--the notionally independent, reputedly humanitarian groups known as NGOs--are now being openly integrated into
Washington's overall strategy for consolidating global supremacy[..].

George Soros' "Parallel Anti-War Media/Movement"
by bob feldman

MoveOn.org: Making Peace With the War in Iraq
by Norman Solomon
http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/views05/0310-35.htm March 10, 2005

The Creation Of The Ukraine “Democratic” Opposition
By Justus Leicht 03 December 2004 http://www.countercurrents.org/ukraine-leight021204.htm
...Freedom of Choice is an umbrella organisation founded in 1999, ostensibly consisting of over 300 different groups. According to its own sources, it is supported by the following institutions: the American, British and Canadian embassies; the National Democratic Institute, which is chaired by the former US secretary of state (under Clinton) Madeleine Albright; the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), which is the Ukrainian offshoot of the George Soros-financed Open Society Institute; the Eurasia Foundation, which is likewise financed by Soros and the US government; the World Bank; the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; the US Agency for International Development; Freedom House, chaired by ex-CIA director James Woolsey; and the right-wing Konrad Adenauer Institute of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The political model for Pora is [capitalist] neo-liberalism. Pora praises the brief reign of Viktor Yushchenko as Ukraine prime minister because he took measures to open up the country to international capital and implement a radical privatisation program. Pora declares: “During its brief period of government power, the team of reformers in 2000 brought about a reduction in the shadow economy and contributed to the establishment of equal access to the Ukrainian market not only for Russian, but also for Western companies... Furthermore, Ukraine expanded its Euro-Atlantic cooperation and adjusted its business relations with Russia (in particular, with regard to the transport of energy resources).”

The most prominent members and activists of Pora were trained by the US-backed elements. A report by the Jamestown Foundation, a think tank whose executive committee includes James Woolsey and former US national security adviser (under President Jimmy Carter) Zbigniew Brzezinski, states: “Otpor has been training Pora members under the auspices of the Citizen Participation in Elections in Ukraine (CPEU) program which is run by Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Republican Institute and funded by the US Agency for International Development.”[...]

SOROS Falls from Grace in Central Asia
nCa Commentary http://www.newscentralasia.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=11...
After Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan has also voiced concerns about the activities of SOROS Foundation. This completes the quorum.
In rapid sequence, Uzbekistan kicked out SOROS, Kazakhstan issued a back-taxes notice that is likely to lead to closure of SOROS offices, President Askar Akayev of Kyrgzstan whipped SOROS for interfering in the society and President Imomali Rakhmanov of Tajikistan told his cabinet of ministers that he considered SOROS a destructive presence for the society.
Why has the entire Central Asian region united against SOROS, a supposedly philanthropic organization engaged in grand and noble projects of absolutely the greatest possible value to the primitive and barbarian societies of Central Asia?

Here are, very briefly, some of the reasons:

One of the declared aims of Soros Foundation and its downstream organizations is to create ‘Civil Society’ in Central Asian nations. This noble intention is quite possibly based on the assumption that Central Asia is inhabited by barbarians and uncivilized creatures – ‘natives’ in short.

While treating the Central Asian people as ‘uncivilized’ creatures and their societies as ‘uncivilized’ societies, it would be useful to remember that Central Asians have no genocide on their hands. Neither Jews nor Native Americans - ‘Red Indians’ of not long ago’ - came to the verge of extinction at the hands of Central Asian people. One must also not forget that while African Americans - is Nigger too embarrassing now? - were struggling for their basic rights, guests of any colour and religion were welcome in any Central Asian yurt. Then, as now, black, white, brown and yellow people broke bread in the same bowl in this uncivilized part of the world. The Silk Road never had a colour-coded social order.

None of the Central Asian countries are civilized enough to subject their visitors to cavity search. People coming from different parts of the world are not photographed and fingerprinted on arrival. How uncivilized! They have still not asked a visiting defence minister of a friendly country or a serving general of a ‘coalition partner’ to take off their shoes at the airport, an uncivilized inhibition that needs to be discarded. Apart from these obviously uncivil traits, there are many other drawbacks in the Central Asian societies:

The cradle to grave social network that is not dependent on the state is something that needs Soros treatment. There is virtually no need for old homes because, by default, the youngest child looks after the parents until their death. It is not a burden to them; it is honour and pleasure - the ability to return something of the love and care they got in their infancy and childhood. It is clear violation of civil rights. A civilized society must send its young to the boarding house and the old to the old home. Very young and very old are a hindrance to the process of civilization.

Central Asian women, especially from rural areas, have the nasty habit of covering their bodies. This practice encroaches on the civil liberties of men. It is irritating to see that only hands and face are naked to the visible eye, I mean, visible to the naked eye. People cannot develop their full potentials in societies where acres and acres of female flesh are not exposed to the environment – and to the lusting eye.

Unmatched hospitality of the Central Asian people is another source of concern. A civilized society is where Sikhs can be mobbed and killed because they resemble Muslims in appearance, where mosques can be desecrated and burned, where people can be knifed if they are coming our of a prayer house of that ‘other religion’, where it is not safe to travel in the subway, where jail wardens look the other way when inmates beat and asphyxiate someone for being ‘weird’, where hardly anyone knows who is living next door and where skinheads can proudly practice racial discrimination.

The trouble is that like most things American, SOROS approach is based on a monochrome template: Black and while, American society and uncivilized society, democracy or dictatorship, with us or against us. .. Asserting only one acceptable model of democracy, American model and you better take it or we would shove it down your throats... that regime change is the only medicine for all the ailments of a society, teaching that everything that exists must be demolished to build something else, chiding that nothing is right and everything is wrong, is not really the most imaginative way of serving any people, least of all the Central Asian people who have a collective heritage of thousands of years of civilization.

George Soros: Prophet of an "Open Society"
Karen Talbot 4 July 2003 http://globalresearch.ca/articles/TAL307A.html

George Soros — a profile by Neil Clark New Statesman (UK)
June 2, 2003 http://www.agitprop.org.au/nowar/20030602_clark_george_soros.php

Connie Bruck, "The World According to Soros," New Yorker, January 23, 1995.

The NED, NGOs and the Imperial Uses of Philanthropy: Why They Hate Our Kind Hearts, Too
By Joan Roelofs
... United Nations agencies such as UNICEF, WHO, UNESCO, UNDP, and FAO have long operated this way, and the World Bank funds, sponsors, guides, and coordinates grassroots poor people's organizations.
NGOs in prosperous nations have extensive grant programs overseas. These include not only the obviously international ones, e.g., Rotary, American Friends Service Committee, and Oxfam; but also labor organizations such as the American Federation of Teachers Educational Foundation. Corporate foundations are active throughout the world, and sometimes have separate funds directed by employees, for example, the Boeing Employees Fund, which supports charities in Japan and England.

Why would these philanthropic efforts offend anyone? Why do they hate our kind hearts?
In the first place, these public-private philanthropies have worked together to fund and direct overthrow movements. We had a "Subversive Activities Control Board" here, but export was encouraged. The grantees' activities included destabilization, the creation of mobs preventing elected governments from ruling, chaos, and violence. Among those funded were the Civic Forum in Czechoslovakia, Solidarity in Poland, Union of Democratic Forces in Bulgaria, Otpor in Serbia, and, more recently, similar groups in the succession states of the USSR. Sometimes mobs (especially of young people) have been moved around from one country to another to give the impression of vast popular opposition. The NED, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, and the Soros philanthropies have been particularly active in these operations. Human Rights Watch (formerly Helsinki Watch) has nurtured opposition groups. Reformers seeking social democracy or democratic socialism were excluded; such systems might oppress the "vulture capitalists."...
PACT (originally, Private Agencies Collaborating Together; funders now include the Ford Foundation, US AID, Mercy Corps International, the Nature Conservancy, the World Bank, Citigroup, Chevron, Levi Strauss, and Microsoft...
NGO staff members have been accused of being spies. Whether or not this is the case, the system allows access to remote native cultures, where the lay of the land and sociograms of local influentials can be charted for any purpose. This type of missionary penetration, attained through Bible translation in the Amazon River basin, has been recounted in Thy Will Be Done, by Colby and Dennett....
NGOs are now extensively occupied in the relief of disasters, whether natural or man-made, and the US military (with its "coalition") is deeply involved in both the comforting and the afflicting. To receive US funds, humanitarian organizations must support US foreign policy. Consequently, some, such as Oxfam UK, have withdrawn their workers from Iraq. Those remaining are often regarded as collaborators, which is not surprising, as many international NGOs have been handmaids to subversion, overthrow, and occupation. Some have even supported "humanitarian" bombing, especially in the case of Yugoslavia.

Former CIA agent tells: How US infiltrates "civil society" to overthrow governments
By Philip Agee

The CIA and the Agency for International Development (AID) would have key roles in this program as well as a new organisation christened in 1983 — the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Actually, the new program was not really new. Since its founding in 1947, the CIA had been deeply involved in secretly funding and manipulating foreign non-governmental voluntary organisations.
These vast operations circled the globe and targeted political parties, trade unions and business associations, youth and student organisations, women's groups, civic organisations, religious communities, professional, intellectual and cultural societies, and the public information media. The network functioned at local, national, regional and global levels.

Over the years, the CIA exerted phenomenal influence behind the scenes in country after country, using these powerful elements of civil society to penetrate, divide, weaken and destroy organisations on the left, and indeed to impose regime change by toppling governments.
Such was the case, among many others, in Guyana, where in 1964, culminating 10 years of efforts, the Cheddi Jagan government was overthrown through strikes, terrorism, violence and arson perpetrated by CIA agents in the trade unions. About the same time, while I was a CIA agent assigned to Ecuador, our agents in civil society, through mass demonstrations and civil unrest, provoked two military coups in three years against elected, civilian governments. Anyone who has watched the opposition to President Hugo Chavez's government in Venezuela develop can be certain that the CIA, AID and the NED are coordinating the destabilisation and were behind the failed coup in April 2002 as well as the failed ”civic strike” of last December-January. The Cuban American National Foundation was, predictably, one of the first beneficiaries of NED funding. From 1983 to 1988, CANF received US$390,000 for anti-Castro activities.

The NED, supposedly a private, non-government, non-profit foundation, receives a yearly appropriation from the US Congress. The money is channeled through four “core foundations”. These are the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (linked to the Democratic Party); the International Republican Institute (Republican Party); the American Center for International Labor Solidarity; and the Center for International Private Enterprise (US Chamber of Commerce). According to its web site, the NED also gives money directly to “groups abroad who are working for human rights, independent media, the rule of law, and a wide range of civil society initiatives.” The NED's NGO status provides the fiction that recipients of NED money are getting “private” rather than US government money... To think that the “dissidents” were creating an independent, free civil society is absurd, for they were funded and controlled by a hostile foreign power and to that degree, which was total, they were not free or independent in the least. The civil society they wished to create was not just your normal, garden variety civil society of Harley freaks and Boxer breeders, but a political opposition movement fomented openly by the US government. ...
Philip Agee was a CIA covert operations officer from 1959 to 1969 and is the author of Inside the Company: A CIA Diary.

Myanmar Junta Unplugs Internet
... Since the protests began in mid-August, people have sent images and words through SMS text messages and e-mail and on daily blogs, according to some exile groups that received the messages. They have posted notices on Facebook, the social networking Web site. They have sent tiny messages on e-cards. They have updated the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
They also used Internet versions of “pigeons” — the couriers that reporters used in the past to carry out film and reports — handing their material to embassies or nongovernment organizations with satellite connections.
Within hours, the images and reports were broadcast back into Myanmar by foreign radio and television stations, informing and connecting a public that hears only propaganda from its government.
These technological tricks may offer a model to people elsewhere who are trying to outwit repressive governments....

following is more evidence of the bipartisan nature of u.s. capitalist geostrategy - starring again, George Soros

National Security Consequences of US Oil Dependency
Task Force Report - By John Deutch, James R. Schlesinger, David G. Victor
... Karin M. Lissakers is Director of the Revenue Watch Institute and serves as Chief
Adviser to George Soros on globalization issues at the Soros Fund Management. ...
October 12, 2006

Safeguarding Proseperity in a Global Financial System: The ...
News Release
... George Soros is Chairman of Soros Fund Management LCC. Mr. Soros funds a network
of foundations dedicated to building and maintaining the infrastructure ...
September 20, 1999

American National Interests and the United Nations
Task Force Report - By George Soros
January 2, 1996

the 3 above at http://www.cfr.org/search.html?q=george+soros&x=0&y=0&ie=&site=cfr&outpu...

earlier NYT article on Burma/Myanmar reveaals US role -- about which now, silence

November 23, 2006
A Tiny Window on the U.S., Prized by Those Peering In
YANGON, Myanmar — For a window into how people think in this closed and cloistered Asian society, consider these eclectic interests in American culture, found on the bulletin board and library shelves at the American Center here. “The Devil Wears Prada” is popular, but Edith Wharton’s “Age of Innocence” has fans. The Paris Review is in demand, but so are Vogue, Vanity Fair and Architectural Digest. The movie “Brokeback Mountain” is must viewing. “I would like to see the movie ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ ” wrote one man. “It is not available here in Burma. P.S. I am not a gay.”

More than 15,000 members come to the American Center to borrow books, see DVDs and study in a modern reading room and computer area equipped with high-speed Internet connections. An auditorium screens Hollywood’s latest. (Attendance at “Brokeback Mountain” outstripped all others this year.)

For a United States worried about its tarnished image in the world, the bustling center is testimony to how an accessible library, seminars and courses in English can burnish America’s reputation and comfort those living under autocratic rulers....

The junta of Myanmar, formerly Burma, regards the United States as a prime enemy, chiefly because Washington has imposed economic sanctions for nearly a decade. Washington also insists that the government recognize the 1990 election, which was won overwhelmingly by the political party of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader, even though she was under house arrest. (She remains so.) Still, the government has allowed the American Center to operate.
“We’re here to say this country deserves better than it has got,” said Todd Pierce, the public affairs officer at the American Embassy who runs the center...
At midday recently, a young man carried a thick book from the library — “Nongovernmental Organizations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” ...
Despite the government’s distaste for foreign influence, the American Center is not the only place for Burmese to find things out. There is the British Council, a less sprightly equivalent, and various news media outlets.
Just after sunrise people can be seen walking around with transistor radios glued to their ears listening to shortwave broadcasts in Burmese by the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia....
The government also allows American and European popular culture of different sorts... Ultra-law-and-order movies like “Judge Dredd,” with Sylvester Stallone, are a favorite on the television sets of tea shops...
At 2:30 a.m. one recent day, live screenings of two European soccer games — Arsenal vs. CSKA Moscow and Manchester United vs. FC Copenhagen — captivated an audience at a makeshift cinema of young men dressed in traditional sarongs, Buddhist monks in ruby-hued robes, and even women.

As vibrant as the American Center is, it is actually a relic, one of the last examples of what used to be a common and important tool in Washington’s public diplomacy. After the cold war ended, Washington closed almost all the libraries it had set up to project the ideals of the United States as a welcoming democratic nation... With the terrorism threat now, the libraries, if they exist at all, are usually hidden behind the walls of fortresslike American embassies that many local people feel are too forbidding to penetrate....Even in India, the State Department has ordered the free-standing library to move, on the ground that it does not have enough security....


Myanmar Is Left in Dark, an Energy-Rich Orphan
China’s thirst for Myanmar’s vast resources has undermined nearly a decade of U.S. economic sanctions.
November 17, 2006

Indonesia's Guerrilla War Puts Exxon Under Siege
The brutal conflict against separatist rebels in Aceh leaves Exxon Mobil, the largest long-term foreign investor in Indonesia, under siege.
July 14, 2002 World News

Unocal to Face Suit on Human Rights
The Unocal Corporation faces a September trial over charges that it was responsible for human rights abuses during the construction of a $1.3 billion pipeline in Myanmar.
June 12, 2002

THE SUPREME COURT: A CORPORATE ACTOR; Trade Ruling Is Victory for Oil Giant
US Supreme Court decision, striking down Massachusetts law prohibiting companies doing business in state from trading with Myanmar as part of effort to undermine government, is significant victory for oil conglomerate Unocal Corp, which holds 28 percent interest in natural gas production and pipeline project in Myanmar and is largest American investor in country
June 20, 2000 U.S. New Burmese Project Tests Unocal Resolve
Unocal Corp, more than any other big American oil company, has staked its future on investments abroad, mainly in Asia, even as it disposes of its American refineries and gas stations; many oil companies, including Unocal, are finding that politics back home is new focus of risk; threat of unilateral economic sanctions, typically directed by US Government at governments accused of human rights violations, has become big enough to cast shadow over investment decisions;...
May 22, 1997 Business News

Bill Clinton's Moment on Myanmar
Editorial urges Pres Clinton to invoke law, for sake of democracy and American credibility, applying sanctions to Myanmar for ongoing human rights abuses; says case for sanctions against Myanmar is probably more convincing than anywhere else in world
March 24, 1997 Opinion Editorial

Gas Pipeline Gives Critics Of Myanmar New Focus
Gas pipeline project being undertaken by Total of France with a major investment by Unocal Corp of the US represents by far the largest foreign investment in Myanmar; despite economic development program intended to secure cooperation of villagers affected by the pipeline, the project has drawn intense opposition by human rights groups, who say the military is using forced labor and forcibly relocating entire villages as it secures the pipeline route; project has become the focus in debate over ...
December 8, 1996


another U.S. NGO that 'aided' 'spontaneous spiritual movement' serving U.S. geostrategic interests:

from: Conference Call with Elizabeth Economy
Speaker: Elizabeth C. Economy, CV Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the Council of Foreign Relations
Presider: Gideon Rose, Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs
September 6, 2007

...human rights NGOs, certainly the Darfur issue, I think Falun Gong, there are many, many non-governmental groups that I think... want to use the Olympics to highlight the negative aspects of China’s political system and how its government leads. ... the environment is really only one of several issues that teach us about the current challenge of Chinese governments. When you are looking at a system that is truly endemically corrupt, it seems to me there is no way forward.... The country can’t move forward without some element of real political reform... I think between sort of the development of grassroots activism, not just on the environment but on a lot of other issues, as well as the beginnings of local some elections and people who are pushing for electoral reform, I think that change will come. I think that all we are missing, frankly, is that one Chinese leader like Jiang Jing, or the sort of Gorbachev or someone who is willing to tap into those not so latent forces anymore and bring them to the fore....
how do you ensure that pressure can continue to be brought to bear past the Olympics on issues of let’s say good governance, broadly. I think that the most important, sort of role that the international community can play is in strengthening the role of civil society in China . And that means supporting Chinese NGOs across the board, doing training for lawyers. I think those are the people that can help to bring about change from the bottom up, are some of the most important actors in Chinatoday ... Funding for these NGOs is 90% from the international community. The funding at the local level, I think Beijingprovides about 10% of the overall environmental protection budget that is needed for the country. That is nothing. And of that, half of it gets siphoned off into things that are not related to the environment. So to the extent that there is going to be an effective approach, it has to be bottom up, and there are definitely many people in China who are committed to doing just that.... of course, you can’t just engage at the local level. You can’t simply go in and start doing whatever you want. NGOs have to be registered in China , and it doesn’t work very well for international NGOs and Beijingis cautious when it comes to them. It’s worried about, call it a revolution. .. So when we are talking about the sort of discreet projects, I think there is a lot of opportunity. It is a long and difficult road and you have to have an enormous amount of patience.
Elizabeth Economy,

China Said to Prepare Ban on Sect; Protests Go On
Chinese Pres Jiang Zemin reportedly plans nationwide ban on Buddhist Law, amorphous but fast-growing spiritual movement; arrests of over 100 prominent members in 14 cities has spurred protests by thousands of followers in Beijing and other cities; police reportedly quickly herd into buses and take away members who mass in front of Communist Party compound, Beijing; Li Hongzhi, sect leader, who is now based in United States, uses Internet to communicate with followers; photos
July 22, 1999
Banned Movement's Head Urges Talks With China

Li Hongzhi, leader of China's fast-spreading Falun Gong spiritual movement, says in New York that his group, now banned by Government, has no political ambitions; calls on Government to engage in dialogue; fears Government crackdown will do damage to the state and human rights and attract attention of internation public opinion; photo of police patrolling Beijing's Tiananmen Square
July 24, 1999
The Way We Live Now: 8-8-99: Questions for Li Hongzhi; Eye of the Storm

Interview with Li Hongzhi, leader of China's outlawed Falun Gong movement, who is in exile in New York; he comments on differences between Chinese and American cultures; photo August 8, 1999

China to stifle pre-Olympics 'hostile forces'
By Richard Spencer in Beijing
China's most senior policeman [propaganda-speak: his U.S. govt. counterpart is hardly referred to as a 'sr. policeman'!] insisted yesterday that tighter controls were needed to stop next year's Olympic Games being disrupted by "hostile forces", including foreigners. When Beijing was awarded the Games six years ago, the International Olympic Committee said the controversial decision would help to bring greater freedom to China's politics....
A policeman sits outside the Olympic park in Dongsi, Beijing
Activists in China are increasingly aware of the fact that the Olympics gives them an opportunity to gain more space. But since then, despite changes in the country forced on it by globalisation and the internet, there has been a crackdown on political opposition....
In the latest in a series of attempts to play down the chances of political liberalisation [U.S. domination], Zhou Yongkang, the minister for public security, said police should "defend political and social stability"...
Falun Gong, the religious cult banned by Beijing whose past record of organising sit-down protests triggers particular fear in the authorities...The government fears that free Tibet campaigners in particular could use the Games as an opportunity to boost international sympathy for their cause...The reference to "hostile forces outside the nation" may [SIC!] refer to overseas supporters of these groups....the government has focused in the past two years on the role that international human rights and pro-democracy organisations played in "colour revolutions" in eastern Europe and Central Asia.... (emphasis added)

"Capitalism Is The Worst Enemy Of Humanity"
...we are not speaking truthfully if we talk about life and the future of humanity, while each day we are destroying the future of humanity. It is important to pinpoint who our enemies are, what the causes are of the damage being done to the planet, damage that may put an end to humanity. Capitalism has twins, the market and war. The market converts life into commodities, it converts land into a commodity. And when capitalists cannot sustain this economic model based on looting, on exploitation, on marginalisation, on exclusion and, above all, on the accumulation of capital, they rely on war...
Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma, speech at United Nations Global Warming Conference,, New York, September 24, 2007

... colonialism or imperialism, as the slave system of the West is called, is not... just confined to England or France or the United States.... It's one huge complex or combine, and it creates... an international power structure. This [racist western] international power structure is to suppress the masses of dark-skinned people all over the world and exploit them of their natural resources....
Malcolm X

above quotes from Gamila Zahran's Arabian Sights, gzahran@wanadoo.fr