Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Amid offers of conditional dialogue, Junta pushes to seize UN data discs

***Don't forget, the 9 ONLINE PETITIONS FOR BURMA HERE.***

Than Shwe's offer of holding conditional talks with main opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should not be seen as a symbol of weakness or indicative of, in anyway, caving in to international criticism. His appointment of deputy labor minister and retired general Aung Kyi as a liaison between the junta and Suu Kyi, at Gambari's suggestion, may have for the time being pacified China and Russia. But the international community is all too aware that Than Shwe rose through the ranks precisely because of his mastery of psychological warfare. Many are convinced that his offer of talks and appointment of an envoy to Suu Kyi is but merely a ploy to fend off internal and external dissent, and to buy more time. Yesterday's AP article on this story HERE. The commentary, "Burma's Diplomatic Offense" HERE.

Unfortunately, Than Shwe's supposed actions of goodwill are incongruous with the junta's continued efforts to stem protests and quash political dissidents. HERE is today's article by The Times and AFP. The piece "Junta in move to seize UN data discs" tells of the junta's attempts to seize UN data discs, which have sensitive information on anti-government political leaders and organizations. UN workers are fighting to keep the files confidential. While the junta sought the appropriate diplomatic channels through which they could legally obtaining the coveted information, UN staffers spent much of the weekend frantically deleting the files, as they fear the information will be used to identify opposition leaders, many of whom have already going into hiding.

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