CHRONOLOGY OF ORGANIZATION ACTIVITY
April 2017: Aung San Suu Kyi should resign
Time to end another major controversy, just who are the people of Burma - Release the Burma ethnic census results now!
March 2017: There were many negative political developments around the world during President Obama's tenure. Now we have Trump. It therefore seems appropriate to evaluate just where we stand, as the movement for peace, human rights and democracy struggles on.
I Want To Be Free
(The Dictator Watch Democracy Review of the World)
An excerpt from I Want To Be Free - The Trump Regime
The Burma Army - School for Sexual Sadists
Comment about next week's Karen National Union Congress - Democracy in the KNU
February 2017: With Trump in power, it is once again time to consider U.S. Foreign Policy - U.S. policy on Burma, the weak link in China's regional hegemony
The stage is set - KNU Congress Update
January 2017: Aung San Suu Kyi is a disgrace
Summary of the important events of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people of Burma - Rohingya genocide timeline
December 2016: The untold story - Burma casualties, and the possibility of freedom
Hoping for a coup in Burma
An appeal for compassion - Imagine you are a Rohingya villager
Photo from The Stateless Rohingya article: Corpses of Rohingya women and children float in Naf River - "Countless dead bodies"
November 2016: Distribution of the Suu Kyi genocide statement
Investigate Aung San Suu Kyi for the crime of genocide
KNU Update retraction
October 2016: Statement in advance of a generally unrecognized critical turning point for Burma - Karen National Union update
September 2016: The Burma Deal - A new article. It explains what has really been happening in Burma: what led to the contradiction of the U.S. ending sanctions at the same time the Burma Army escalated the Civil War.
August 2016: A comment in advance of the upcoming Union Peace Conference - Burma Peace: Let the truth be told!
Boycott the Burma "Peace" Conference - Should Burma's ethnic pro-democracy armies attend Aung San Suu Kyi's upcoming national peace conference?
Where things now stand - Burma peace process critical path
July 2016: The set-up for the new peace process - The Burma Family
A comment on the passing of Elie Wiesel - Idealism versus Realism
June 2016: University of Life completed - I have now - finally - added all the material from my book, Freedom From Form, to the University of Life website.
The Burma census saga continues - Aung San Suu Kyi refuses to publish ethnic census results
May 2016: Analysis of recent developments: Burma - the prospects for peace
A new Burma peace process - Part 2, the next installment of a new series of analyses about the efforts to achieve peace in Burma.
April 2016: An analysis of how peace in Burma can finally be achieved - A new Burma peace process
March 2016: China: A new democracy revolution
The article has been posted on CANYU, the website which first published the letter calling for the resignation of President Xi Jinping.
It was then posted on Boxun, the leading Chinese democracy website.
Boxun also posted the Chinese translation of Lessons in Democracy.
February 2016: Talk at U.S. Congress - A reality check for Burma/Myanmar (Chinese translation)
Racism in Burma - an analysis of what the people of Burma may expect now that the new NLD-majority Parliuament has taken office.
January 2016: Some additional analysis and guidance for Burma's ethnic resistance groups, to start the new year off - Burma's ethnic armed organizations - wait and see
December 2015: An update to the last article. Suu Kyi apparently discussed an amnesty for regime war criminals with Than Shwe - Aung San Suu Kyi: Her Amnesty Treason
Burma: The political cancer is spreading
Two new articles, part of our effort to raise funding to do an Arabic translation of Lessons in Democracy.
Peace, or Democracy?
Democracy and the Arab World: The Cultural Challenge
November 2015: An appraisal of the consequences of the recent election - The future of Burma?
October 2015: The Burma NCA - the true situation: 17 against, 5 for
September 2015: The never-ending ceasefire saga - Burma's Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement: Just Say No!
August 2015: The danger from the ceasefire negotiation is not yet ended - An appeal to Burma's ethnic nationality leaders
Burma's Ethnic Armed organizations have rejected the latest dictatorship sham ceasefire offer, leaving the question: Burma's ceasefire negotiation - What happens next?
July 2015: The Burma ceasefire - Why would the ethnic armies sign now?
A comment on the resumption of Burma's ceasefire negotiations and the upcoming general election - Burma election scenarios
May 2015: Yet another event to consider that which should not even be imagined, an ethnic nationality surrender - Burma's NCCT debacle
A comment on Burma's nationwide ceasefire negotiation in the context of the military dictatorship's ongoing reign of terror - Burma's pro-democracy rebels - stick to your guns!
April 2015: Burma: A Simple Question, the argument why the ethnic resistance forces should not sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement.
March 2015: Karen People's Struggle, by David Tharckabaw
An appraisal of the latest round of ceasefire negotiations - Burma NCA negotiation update 2
Freedom and democracy are still possible - this year! - Burma: A Plan for Freedom
January 2015: A comment on the rape and murder by Burma Army soldiers of two Kachin schoolteachers - Terrorism in Burma
The next step with my broadest initiative - University of Life - Part 4
A new year, and the never-ending conflict continues - Burma NCA negotiation update
Lessons in Democracy - Revisited
November 2014: An appraisal of the core issue that is at stake - Burma: What's the goal?
October 2014: Calling all Karen people of Burma, the launch of a lobbying campaign in advance of the KNU's emergency Central Standing Committee meeting.
September 2014: Concerning the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong - The requirements for a successful popular revolution in China
We have a new article for the University of life - Help children; Help the world. We have also added as short articles (3-4 pages), all of the content for Parts 2 and 3 of the site, highlights of which are summarized in the associated press release.
Recommendation for a new Facebook group - KNU Watch
An appraisal of the negotiation leverage created in Burma from President Obama's upcoming visit - Ceasefire negotiation leverage in Burma
August 2014: An objective appraisal of the negotiation underway to end the world's longest running civil war - The fallacy of Burma's nationwide ceasefire agreement
June 2014: When did the KNU join the SPDC? - an appraisal of the recent extraordinary remarks made by the current KNU "leaders," folowing their latest trip to regime headquarters.
May 2014: Some background on the new Thai coup - Historical perspectives for Thailand
An analysis of President Obama's approach to the world - United States foreign policy
An analysis of the correct reform rollout for Burma, given the regime's insincerity - Burma census and ceasefire update
A Rohingya concentration camp in Western Burma. Photo source: Rohingya Blogger
April 2014: An extract of the Atrocity" statement, published separately - Portrait of a genocide
A statement on the third anniversary of our conflict blog, Burma Death Watch, including with a timeline of the Rogingya genocide - Three years of atrocity
March 2014: A comment on the continuing negotiations for a nationwide ceasefire - Burma: Surrender Timing
Zimbabwe update: The court cases are finally over! The charges were dropped against the ordinary protestors. The leaders were given a three month suspended sentence and fined $500.
January 2014: Subvert Burma's election! - Dictator Watch's appraisal of the correct course of action for Burma's pro-democracy movement as the country enters a two year period that is certain to be of great historical importance.
I was honored to be chosen by the people of Burma as one of the 100 People of the Year 2013: Waves of Democracy. The poll was conducted by the group Burma Compatriots.
November 2013: An analysis of the national ceasefire dialogue - Negotiated surrender in Burma?
September 2013: The University of Life, the fourth in the Dictator Watch family of websites, is launched!
Zimbabwe update: The whole judicial process in Zimbabwe has been a joke. The case against the protestors has been postponed again and again. The trial is supposedly soon to be held. Most of the demonstrators are just up for public disorder. The two leaders though are at risk of imprisonment under the more serious charge of organizing a demonstration without permission.
August 2013: Took a break to work on a new project, coming soon, and to observe the developments in Burma. A new analysis regarding the latter - A New Burma Democracy Movement
May 2013: A comment on the White House welcoming the dictator of Burma - Barack Obama: Spitting on Abraham Lincoln's grave
April 2013: Arrests in Zimbabwe - Twenty-three Zimbabweans were arrested last week in Bulawayo, in the Southwest of the country, during a demonstration. One of the leaders of the protest, Busani Sibindi, is our coordinator in the country. He organized the translation of Lessons in Democracy into Zimbabwe's two main languages, Shona and Ndebele.
March 2013: An article in response to Suu Kyi backing China and the police against the Letpadaung protestors - Aung San Suu Kyi: Burma's Robert Mugabe.
February 2013: A turning point, a comment on the significance of the assassination of KNU leader Padoh Mahn Sha five years ago.
January 2013: Our response to the lie by Burma's military dictatorship that it has initiated a unilateral ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army - The military dictatorship's propaganda war
Additional information about the dirty tricks at the recent KNU Congress - The Karen purge and coup
The Critical Path for Burma - a review of the issues facing Burma in 2013.
This was subsequently posted on the Shan Herald Agency for News.
Statement about the outcome of the KNU Congress - Treachery in the Karen National Union
December 2012: The Age of Aung San Suu Kyi - Suu Kyi is now fully integrated into Burma's military regime, and acting as its spokesperson and "cooler." Her impact has become so negative that the prospects for freedom and democracy in the country are nil, until she is gone from the political scene.
Lessons in Democracy update - Downloads of the Chinese translations exceed 1000 per month from the websites of the Wei Jingsheng Foundation
November 2012: Burma's dictatorship is at it again. Japan stopped a shipment of materials for its nuclear and missile program from North Korea. We provide a deeper perspective on statements in the article about the shipment by Asahi Shimbun - Comment on the new Burma proliferation incident
Our work was mentioned a number of times in a new review of Burma's clandestine nuclear activities on ForeignPolicy.com, Does Burma still have nuclear dreams?
A comment on President Obama's upcoming visit to Burma - Checkmate for Burma?
This article was posted by both Eurasia Review and Asia Times.
October 2102: An answer to the blowback from my new article.
Response to critics of "The worst person in Burma"
A comment on Aung San Suu Kyi's silence over the Rohingya and Kachin crises.
The worst person in Burma
We have a new guest article, about the implications of the large number of casualties being inflicted on the Burma Army in the Kachin and other ethnic area conflicts, including the fact that these casualties are not being reported upon by Burma's media.
Kachin ayay Bamar ayay, by Ohn
September 2012: Two new statements in response to Aung San Suu Kyi's U.S. visit, and the simultaneous ending by the Obama Administration of its sanctions on Burma.
Aung San Suu Kyi and human rights
How to stop the corporate rape of Burma
The ASSK article was posted by Kachinland News and the Rohingya Blogger.
Our response to the protests now underway against the Monywa copper mining project - Mining in Burma
Readership of Burmese translation of Lessons in Democracy jumps
August 2012: The changing face of oppression in Burma
July 2012: Our analysis of her policy statements during her recent holiday - Democracy implications of Aung San Suu Kyi's European trip.
June 2012: The State Department finally comes clean - sort of - about what it knows about foreign arms traffickers and Burma - State finally "publishes" reports on military and intelligence aid to Burma
Our analysis of Aung San Suu Kyi's trip to Thailand: Policy questions for Aung San Suu Kyi
May 2012: A personal appeal to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to change her position encouraging commercial development in Burma before the country is free - Freedom not development
April 2012: We have a guest article about the New Burma, Careful what you wish for, by Ohn Khin.
Our review of the "New Burma" - Burma's semi-freedom scorecard
Lessons in Democracy update - While perhaps "viral" is still an overstatement, the readership of the article The responsibilities of government, hidden away in our Democracy Forum, has been building steadily and is now approaching 1,000 views a month. The article clearly speaks to the ongoing debate in the United States about the role of government, and has probably been linked by some blogs. Given what is at stake in the debate, and this year's presidential election, it would be excellent if the article truly did go viral and reach a large audience. If you think it is of merit, please link it on your own blogs and mention it on such sites as Facebook. Thanks.
February 2012: Upcoming Burma election already not free or fair
January 2012: Radio presenter David Rutledge has put together an excellent review of the current situation in Burma, titled Burma On The Brink. It is a fifty minute special, and unlike many of the video documentaries about the country it explores its subject in depth. The main focus is on the reform underway by the Thein Sein regime, with an additional emphasis on the issue of religious and cultural discrimination. I was very pleased to be asked to participate. Please listen to the entire program. My remarks begin at 2.28, 12.15, and 38.58. The program is presented as part of the "Encounter" series, of the Radio National service of Australia Broadcasting Corporation.
Burma on the Brink
Karen pride and unity: Scorpion Films video about the regime's civil war against Burma's ethnic minorities.
Burma's exile media: The reason why Burma's junta, SLORC/SPDC/NDSC, has refused to release additional political prisoners.
December 2011: Our analysis of what has become a critical period in Burma's history - Parallel universes in Burma
November 2011: There is another pro-dictatorship conference in Washington, this time at Georgetown University - Development in dictatorship conference
The Burma pro-democracy movement is at risk of splitting - The dilemma for the National League for Democracy. (This piece was run as a special editorial by the Nation (Thailand), and kept on their website's opinion page for three weeks.)
October 2011: Even with rain every day, fighting rages at the Karen front in Burma - KNLA September battle summary
Dictator Watch ten year review.
Lessons in Democracy update - I was invited to participate in a China event at the U.S. Capitol. The subject of the meeting was the 1911 Chinese Xinhai Revolution. This revolution overthrew the last Imperial dynasty and established the Republic of China. It was the first attempt in China to establish a modern state, and which Mao Zedong and the Communists ultimately destroyed. My remarks are as follows: Speech on Burma and China in the U.S. Capitol
September 2011: Analysis by the Karen National Union - August update on situation in Karen State
August Karen National Liberation Army sitrep
Documentation of the suspected June 3rd chemical weapon attack by the Burma Army against the Shan State Army - North - Report on Burma Army use of chemical weapons
August 2011: KNLA six month battle report
Update on the fast moving situation with the armed conflict in Burma - Burma War News
July Karen National Liberation Army sitrep
July 2011: June Karen National Liberation Army sitrep
We have a new article: Unknowns for Burma
The article examines the following questions:
What is Than Shwe doing?
How will the Civil War in Burma develop?
What will Daw Suu do, and how will the regime respond?
What will the new United States Special Representative do?
Why does the world media pay so much attention to Libya, but not Burma?
June 2011: Our critique of testimony at a recent Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing: State Department misleads Congress on Burma
In response to the high level of armed conflict that our new blog is revealing, and which is causing major casualties for the Burma Army, we pose the question: Is it time for an amnesty in Burma?
Dictator Watch has tried for years to raise attention to the fact that there is a civil war underway in Burma. The dictators of the country are killing their own people, which action has precipitated a self-defense response. We are exasperated that this conflict, which is the most severe problem in Burma - the regime is committing crimes against humanity - receives very little consideration in the world press or concern from the international community. The conflict is now escalating - armed clashes are occurring every day. To illuminate this "hidden war" we have launched a new blog, with links to reports about clashes and related issues from different Burma media outlets and also with information from our own sources within the resistance groups.
BLOG - Burma Conflict Situation Report
April 2011: Our criticism of the SAIS conference on Burma brought a reaction from an illustrious scholar and expert on the country, which reaction we are pleased to address: Response to David Steinberg
Alert: Pro-military regime Burma conference in Washington
Lessons in Democracy update - We have now passed 10,000 Lessons in Democracy translation downloads for Zimbabwe, with 6,500 for Shona and 3,600 for Ndebele.
March 2011: Lessons in Democracy update - We have now reached 10,000 downloads of the Burmese Lessons in Democracy translation. Copies of the translation have also been printed in Burma, and Japan, and it is available in its entirety on other websites as well. This is a significant contribution to the goal of furthering democracy education for Burma.
February 2011: A comment on the pro-democracy revolutions in the Middle East: Why are there no protests in Burma?
January 2011: Does Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest spell the end of Burma's pro-democracy movement. It's up to her.
December 2010: We were interviewed for a new article on World Net Daily:
Yearning for Freedom
Burma ethnic groups seek talks with junta
Vow to keep fighting if military dictatorship won't change course
Wikileaks has published a cable that confirms intelligence we revealed about the sale of Burmese uranium - Validated by Wikileaks on Burma uranium sales
November 2010: Now that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is free, many people are offering her advice. We have our own set of recommendations: The future of Burma, policy recommendations for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Our work exposing Burma's clandestine nuclear program for the first time (in November 2006) was shown in a new documentary on the subject on PBS' Need to Know.
Lessons in Democracy update - Recommendation by Wei Jingsheng.
I recommend this "Lessons in Democracy" to our Chinese friends both inside China and overseas. We are sending you this simple textbook which is brief but to the point. The author Roland Watson is an American writer and activist, who spent years helping people under dictatorships to gain their freedom and democracy. The Chinese version of "Lessons in Democracy" is translated by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation. This brief textbook is particularly suitable for the freedom and democracy striving people in the third world countries to read.
The special characteristics of this "Lessons in Democracy" is that it is easy to understand and concise, unlike many formal academic works which are often voluminous yet obscure. It is not an attempt to explore abstruse theory, or to debate issues of uncertainty. It simply lets people learn the mature modern democratic system as it has developed over the past few hundred years, in an effort to provide a general understanding of the essence of democracy.
Democracy is not a completed history. Democracy is a system which is not perfect and is still developing. So, even for this brief narrative, inevitably there can be some controversy. We wish our reader friends will provide comments and views to us for any timely modification to reach an even better level. By doing so, we hope the process of thinking and debate itself would be a good procedure of learning and spreading. Further, we hope our friends who support freedom and democracy in China will propagate this "Lessons in Democracy" as far and as often as you can, in an effort to end the Communist Party's one-party dictatorship and to realize democracy in China as early as possible.
October 2010: Where is Vice Senior General Maung Aye?
We have a new statement, Stonewalled by China, and the United States, which discloses that China has blocked the Lessons in Democracy website, and that the U.S. is refusing to comply with, or even acknowledge, our Freedom of Information Act request for the Report on Military and Intelligence Aid to Burma.
Lessons in Democracy update - The Lessons in Democracy website has been blocked by the Communist Party of China. The great and glorious CCP, with more than two trillion dollars in savings, and an increasingly powerful military, is afraid of our little book.
September 2010: Lessons in Democracy update - We are very pleased to announce the Chinese translation of Lessons in Democracy, by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation. The translation is available in two Chinese character sets, Simplified and Traditional.
The translation will be launched at a press conference in Room HC-6 of the United States Capitol, from 2.00pm - 3.30pm, September 27th. The conference will be followed by a seminar on The Sixty-One Years of Communist China, by the Asia Democracy Alliance, from 3.30pm - 5pm.
(This link is Radio Free Asia's Mandarin service coverage of the launch. In the video clip the opening speaker is Mr. Wei Jingsheng. My English presentation begins at 4:25.)
Wei Jingsheng is a leading pro-democracy advocate for China. He spent eighteen years as a political prisoner. His first imprisonment followed Deng Xiaoping's formal announcement of the "four modernizations," in agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology.
Mr. Wei wrote an article saying that China needed democracy as well, which article he titled the Fifth Modernization, and which he posted in 1978 on Beijing's Democracy Wall. He was arrested, for the first time, after taking this courageous step.
The lessons were translated by Huang Ciping, Director of the Foundation. Ms. Huang, a scientist in optical physics, was previously President of the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars in the United States, and the Global Chinese Students and Scholars' Union.
The translation was edited by Cheng Yike. Ms. Cheng is an author and has published seven books in China, including five children's books, a book of essays, and a biography.
August 2010: We have new documented intelligence about Burma's nuclear program - Burma's nuclear battalion. It gives the layout for and identifies the specific location of the central element of the program, the #1 Science and Technology Battalion at Thabeikkyin.
We have a new article, Burma Freedom Situation Report, which analyzes the current situation in the country. It discloses that the dictator of Burma, Than Shwe, contrary to conventional wisdom, is under great pressure. He is accelerating his attempt to develop an atomic bomb, with direct assistance from the Communist Party of China, as a means to preserve his tyranny.
2010: Our recent publication of hard intel about Burma's nuclear program,
lists of Burma Army officers studying nuclear science and related subjects at
technical universities in Russia, was mentioned in a Time Magazine article:
Burma's Junta Trying to Join the Nuclear Club?
An article on Canada Free Press about our FOIA filing - Burma's nuclear mystery
We were interviewed by the website Burma Today about the State Scholar student lists from Russia that we published, which prove the SPDC lied to the IAEA when it said it did not have a nuclear program.
June 2010: Proof - Burma's military junta lied to the IAEA, when it said that it did not have a nuclear program.
Our statement about the looting of Burma's ancient pagodas by SPDC Senior General Than Shwe has been translated into Burmese.
We have also learned since we first broke this story that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who is Than Shwe's primary customer for the looted artifacts (and who visited Burma a few weeks ago), is an avid collector of gems and jewelry. Wen's educational background is in geology, and he and his wife are known to be particularly interested in jade. (His education also enables him to professionally assess Burma's uranium and other mineral resources.)
Please distribute this document as widely as possible, and feel free to rename it and send it as an email attachment. This travesty should be the talk of the tea shops!
Yet another nightmare from Than Shwe: Burma's junta desecrates ancient Buddhist pagodas
We have a new article on the twenty-first anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre - Democracy for China: What will it take?
April 2010: We were interviewed by the Democratic Voice of Burma, about Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell's comments on the relations between Burma and North Korea following his trip to Rangoon. We made the following points:
- His statement about "recent developments" implied that the U.S. knew about the arms shipments to Burma by both North Korea and China during the April New Year's holiday, and which for North Korea was in contravention of Security Council Resolution 1874.
- That at a minimum with the North Korean shipment but perhaps the Chinese as well, both missiles and equipment suitable for a clandestine nuclear weapons program were included.
- That the U.S. chose not to stop the North Korean cargo because of the presence of the Chinese ship - the U.S. will stand up to North Korea but not China, and that because of this whatever was on the freighter Kang Nam 1 that the U.S. blocked last summer has now been delivered.
- And that it is Dictator Watch's view that China is intimately involved in North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation to Burma, if only in an advisory role.
We had a letter in the Nation (Thailand) about the Red Shirts saying that because they are paid (500 baht a day plus meals and transport from Issan), they should be referred to as Thaksin Shinawatra's employees, not pro-democracy protesters; and that the most effective way to pressure him is to seize his corrupt gains (which the Thai courts subsequently did).
An explanation for the recent bombings in Rangoon - Burma's Thingyan terror
Our attempt to get the U.S. government to come clean on what it knows about nuclear proliferation from North Korea to Burma: Burma nuclear FOIA filing
March 2010: Intelligence from a Burma police defector, which reveals that the upcoming election in Burma is certain to be rigged such that real pro-democracy candidates cannot win.
A statement about a recent disclosure that reveals the true policy of the United States towards Burma: U.S. Burma policy - the curtain parts
Lessons in Democracy update - We had a strong publicity effort for Zimbabwe, which pushed total downloads over 6,000: 4,600 for the Shona translation and 1,800 for Ndebele. We have also passed 7,000 downloads for Burmese.
February 2010: Remembering a friend
January 2010: There is a new report from ISIS - the Institute for Science and International Security, on the putative involvement of Burma's military junta, the SPDC, in nuclear proliferation. As the report mentions Dictator Watch, we have a few comments/clarifications: ISIS report on Burma's nuclear program
We have a new article, Than Shwe's Strategy, which describes the dictator of Burma's plan to stay in power, and how the pro-democracy movement can make it fail. Than Shwe's hold on power now is actually quite weak. The Burma Army is a House of Cards. It is ready to fall - to collapse upon itself. All this requires is a little push.
We also have photos of the country's armed resistance, which is actively preparing to fight, and an Army order describing the Border Guard Force, which many of the ceasefire resistance groups refuse to accept; as well as two revolutionary fliers that Dictator Watch helped distribute inside Burma in the run-up to the 2007 Saffron Uprising, to illustrate the types of revolutionary materials that underground groups and individuals should be publishing nationwide right now.
December 2009: Lessons in Democracy update - We are very pleased to announce a new translation of Lessons in Democracy, by Ritta Chigome and Cornellius Nyereyemuka, into the Shona language of Zimbabwe. Shona is the language of the majority in Zimbabwe, and is used by the principal figures both in the regime of Robert Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
The Shona translation joins the Ndebele translation that we have already published, for Ndebele speakers in the south of Zimbabwe and also related groups (Zulu cultures) in Botswana and South Africa. The two languages are used by some 90% of Zimbabwe's population.
November 2009: We have a new article that summarizes what is known about the different stages of Burma's nuclear program, and analyzes how the program may be driving the United States' engagement with the country's military regime: Elements of a nuclear weapons program - threat assessment for Burma
October 2009: We have a major new article, China Burma United States relations. This article was prepared for a seminar of the Asia Democracy Alliance, organized by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation on October 1-2nd in Washington, D.C., in the Rayburn House of Representatives office building. It analyzes the relations of Burma with both China and the United States, including the impact of the Obama Administrations policy of engagement.
Lessons in Democracy update - The number of downloads of the Burmese translation of Lessons in Democracy has passed 5,000. However, because the translation has been distributed in other ways as well, we believe readership of the work is well in excess of this figure, and includes at least 1,000 people inside Burma itself. This means a significant number of Burmese now have a thorough grounding in the principles and institutions of democracy. They will be well prepared to implement the democratic system for Burma once it is free.
Right: The gate to the main base of the Shan State Amy-South. There is a civil war in Burma, between the military regime - the SPDC - and the people. The groups that are fighting the regime, such as the SSA-South, the Karen National Union, and the Karenni National Progressive Party, would much prefer to resolve the country's problems peacefully. But until the SPDC sincerely agrees to negotiate, they have no choice but to bear arms to defend their people.
September 2009: In anticipation of the October 1st 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China, and the visit of Chinese dictator Hu Jintao to the United States, we have reviewed the new book, Laogai - the machinery of repression in China.
August 2009: New compilations of Free Burma Rangers relief mission photography.
Burma Army atrocities, 2009 through July
Burma Army atrocities in 2008: Essay 1; Essay 2
Plagiarism in the Burma nuclear "scoop": More than ten items of intelligence from our initiative about Burma's nuclear program were published in articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and Bangkok Post, without credit to Dictator Watch.
The Bangkok Post printed our letter to the editor the following day, with our statement that we should have been noted.
2009: We have three new articles:
- President Obama's Legacy, about what the President can do to fulfill the sacrifice and precedent of Abraham Lincoln's decision to free the American slaves.
- Free East Turkestan, which explains the reasons for this month's unrest in East Turkestan, including with a review of the Communist Party of China's sixty-year reign of terror.
- U.S. Policy on Burma: More Stick, Less Carrot, which analyses the many different events surrounding Burma in the last few months, including the visit of Ban Ki-moon, celebrity activism, the Kang Nam 1, and the comments of Hillary Clinton.
The Free East Turkestan article was featured on the website of the Uyghur American Association. We were also interviewed again by VOA Burmese, for its weekly Burma Democracy Forum, about the connections between Burma and North Korea, which program was broadcast into Burma four times.
June 2009: Our statement in response to the report that the United States is tracking a ship from North Korea that is carrying missile components to Burma, WMD nexus between North Korea and Burma.
We were interviewed by the Voice of America's Burmese service about this statement, which was also featured in a Mizzima News commentary.
We have a guest article, by David Tharckabaw: Our ideological struggle
May 2009: We have a follow-up statement about U.S. policy towards Burma, and similar dictatorships, and how such policy is regularly misrepresented: "Regime Change" in Burma
Lessons in Democracy update - We are very pleased to announce two new translations of Lessons in Democracy:
- Azerbaijani, by Razi Nurullayev and Ogtay Gulaliyev
- The Ndebele language of Zimbabwe, by Nqaba Terence Ndlovu and Makhosi R. Gondonga
Note: We also have a new photo essay from Zimbabwe.
We will be working in the coming months and years with our partners in Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe, to use the translations to help educate the people of the two countries about democracy.
April 2009: We have a major new article, Foreign Policy Parameters, and United States Policy Towards Burma
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) has launched a global signature campaign for the release of Burmas political prisoners. The campaign aims to collect 888,888 signatures before 24 May 2009, the legal date that Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should be released from house arrest.
If you have not already signed the petition, please do so at: http://www.fbppn.net
We have also posted a recent statement from the Karen National Union. It describes the tortuous history of peace negotiations between the KNU and successive Burma military regimes. Anyone who wants to understand the current regime, the SPDC, most importantly diplomats who are responsible for setting foreign policy towards Burma, should read this history.
Lessons in Democracy update - We have published a short book about the global economic tumult - What Really Happened: The Financial Crisis Guide
The Guide has two objectives: to reveal the different components of the crisis, so everyone, particularly all the people who lost their homes, jobs and savings, can understand what happened; and to lay out a plan by which it can never occur again.
It is further being posted on the Lessons in Democracy website, because the crisis so vividly illustrates the underlying conflict between unrestrained corporate behavior and democratic governance.
We are very pleased to announce the first translation of our Lessons in Democracy, into the Burmese language, by Ko Lwin Aung Soe. More translations are on the way.
The basic idea for the translation is that if the people of Burma want democracy, they should be interested to learn about it. Conversely, if they learn about it, and understand how their lives would be changed, practically, with freedom and human rights, they should be willing to fight for it.
This means that the lessons are not solely an educational initiative. They will have a political impact as well.
The lessons are "A" democracy guide, not "The" democracy guide. There are many approaches to teaching democracy - ours is only one of them. Our approach begins with an emphasis on the underlying principles. When people who live in dictatorships ask about democracy, they don't start with questions about the system's formal mechanisms, like elections and political parties, or its presidential and parliamentary alternatives. Instead, they want to know about the ideas: What is democracy, really? What would it mean to me? How would my life in a democratic nation be different, and better?
Again, for Burma, this implies that the initiative will have a political impact as well as educational. For a start, it will counter SPDC propaganda. The people will understand exactly why the SPDC constitution, the 2010 election, and "disciplined democracy" are not democracy at all. Further, they will realize that human rights are not limited to freedom from repression. They have a right not to be poor; to have good health care; to have good schools for their children; to preserve Burma's beautiful natural environment; and many other rights as well.
Lessons in Democracy is a long-term initiative. It takes years to devise ways to expose a national population to the ideas of democracy, certainly in a dictatorship like Burma. If you can help us distribute the translation, we will be off to a good start. (Thanks!)
New democracy forum topic: Personal versus group responsibilities
March 2009: Our review of the film about the Democratic Voice of Burma journalists who covered the September 2007 Saffron Revolution - Film Review: Burma VJ
February 2009: Our analysis of the persistent division among Burma activists: Unity and Legitimacy in the Burma Pro-Democracy movement.
A polite reminder to the U.S. government: Where's the State Department nuclear report on Burma?
January 2009: Lessons in Democracy update - New democracy forum topics:
W hat is democracy?
The philosophy of democracy, and theocracy
The philosophy of democracy, and personal responsibility
December 2008: Lessons in Democracy update - In support of the election in the United States of Barack Obama, and his commitment to bring real change to Washington, D.C., we have added two basic policy statements about government to the democracy forum.
The responsibilities of government
Government funding and design
Also, Lessons in Democracy was described in the August to October World Youth Movement for Democracy bulletin.
November 2008: The latest in our series of intelligence briefs on Burma's nuclear program, Recognition of Burma's proliferation
We also have a new photo exhibit, of a humanitarian solar installation.
October 2008: Lessons in Democracy update - Comments on the democracy forum addition about government secrecy, and our responses (see link below).
We have an addition to the democracy forum: Democracy and Government Secrecy
September 2008: We have a new photo exhibit of a protest for Tibet, by Kirran Shah, and an associated article: We need more activists!
Announcing Lessons in Democracy, the third in the Dictator Watch family of websites.
August 2008: We have received additional intelligence that both confirms and expands our last report, about how Russia is guiding the SPDCs nuclear development and more generally its military modernization. This intelligence is from new sources.
In our associated press statement, we also comment on the upcoming visit to Burma by United Nations Special Envoy Gambari, and the new Burma law passed by the United States, the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008.
2008: The Olympics are fast approaching. The fact that the Games are being
held in China has brought great attention, including on idea that there is such
a thing as an Olympic Spirit.
This raises the question: What is it meant to be, what is it in reality, and,
is this something that we should celebrate?
June 2008: We have new, disturbing, and detailed intelligence about the assistance Russia is providing Burmas dictatorship, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), on its nuclear program and more generally its military modernization. This new information both confirms earlier intelligence that we have published, and expands what is known about the overall program.
This report was also translated into Burmese, and published on the Burma Digest website.
We have two new articles. The first, What new world order?, is about the lack of an international response to the Burmese juntas decision to deny humanitarian relief for the victims of Cyclone Nargis, and instead to allow them to die of starvation and disease.
The second, The Chinese Dictatorships Olympics, is about the reduction in pressure on China, focused on the upcoming Beijing Games, that occurred in response to the earthquake in Sichuan Province, and with which reduction we completely disagree.
Right: Victims of Cyclone Nargis. Photo source: Delta Tears via Free Burma Rangers
May 2008: Because of SPDC intransigence, the world has been struggling to deliver humanitarian aid to Burma. The aid community: saviors or enablers? explores the issues that must be addressed if we are to help the people of the country, but not their tyrants.
Our statement in response to the fact that the SPDC has been stealing votes, and foreign aid - The wrong people in Burma are dying.
Our analysis of the situation in Burma at the advent of the constitutional referendum and in the wake of Cyclone Nargis: Freedom for Burma: is this it?
We were interviewed by the American television network, ABC, about the reasons for the SPDC's restrictions on international disaster relief, with an excerpt broadcast on World News Tonight.
2008: We have prepared an
analysis of the many advocacy initiatives now underway, on behalf of Tibet,
Darfur and Burma, using the Olympics as a pressure point against China.
February 2008: A tribute to Padoh Mahn Sha Lar Hpan, and a related comment.
We have a major new article, Insurrection in Burma. The associated press statement has a short comment about the new Rambo film.
We also note the welcome death of yet another dictator, Suharto of Indonesia, likely one of the ten worst mass murderers of all time. The only thing that makes his demise bittersweet is that like Pinochet of Chile he was never punished for his crimes, and his family and cronies were allowed to retain the proceeds of his regime's monumental corruption.
Some commentators, and foreign governments, including the U.S., have attempted to justify Suharto by saying that he led Indonesia through a period of strong economic development. Such plaudits are completely fallacious. His "development" was based on the rape of the country's natural environment, and the wealth accumulated by his cronies will undermine democracy for generations to come. These commentators are also attempting to use a flawed ends and means rational, saying effectively that while he was a mass murderer this was somehow OK, due to the development. Mass murder is Never OK. Unethical means are not acceptable even for supposedly ethical ends. For democracy to prevail, the rule of law cannot be compromised.
2007: An analysis of the two months since the crackdown began against the
popular uprising in Burma - Those
who are not afraid to die, come in front!
Digital Direct Action against the Chinese Olympics
October 2007: An article that examines the strategy and tactics that the people of Burma and their international supporters can use to defeat the SPDC: An epic struggle, Part 2.
A general commentary on the situation in Burna: An epic struggle.
This was also published in The Nation (Thailand).
We have posted three compilations of photography from the Free Burma Rangers.These should remind everyone that the crimes of the SPDC extend well beyond the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. For so many reasons, but foremost to end the scorched earth campaign against Burmas ethnic nationalities, Than Shwe and his fellow generals must go.
2007: The demonstrations in Burma were smaller yesterday (Sept. 28) because
of the government crackdown. The most important element of this is the suppression
of the monks. Free the monks!
Our statement, End the bloodshed!, about the murderous crackdown by the SPDC on non-violent demonstrators; and a related article, Why the world won't help, which explains why the international community refuses to offer the people of Burma any "real" assistance.
Both Free the monks! and End the bloodshed! were printed by The Nation (Thailand).
demonstrations in Burma are now huge, more than 100,000 people each in a number
of different cities. The monks of the country, who have been leading the demonstrations
(since the student leaders were arrested), put out a call for the general public
to join them. There is only one step left to go to freedom, as described in
our statement: Water on stone.
Preparation for murder, our statement about reports that the SPDC is making plans to slaughter peaceful demonstrators in Burma.
Burma needs a coup. This entire statement was printed as a letter to the editor in The Nation (Thailand).
Also, we assisted in the production of a news documentary about the popular uprising in Burma, for Associated Press Television News.
Dictator Watch is exuberant at the departure from the Bush Administration of Alberto Gonzalez and Karl Rove. Together with the exits of Rumsfeld, Libby and Wolfowitz, this leaves only puppetmaster Cheney and puppet Bush from the anti-democratic cabal still in place. Their efforts to eviscerate the United States Constitution and to turn the country into a one party state have been defeated. The American system of democracy, for all its flaws, has repelled this extremely serious threat. Now we just have to suffer through a lame duck Bush for one more year. Let's hope America's political parties, and the electorate, do a better job with their selections in 2008.
August 2007: We have a new article, about recent events inside Burma: Starved into Submission. The article begins with a number of links to other new articles and videos about Burma, which have not been widely publicized.
Dictator Watch has now learned of two additional surface-to-surface missile facilities in Burma. We also have information about the role Singapore is playing in the SPDCs efforts to procure military materiel, and the juntas program to send officers to Russia for training in nuclear science.
We were interviewed by BBC's Burmese service regarding this report.
July 2007: Dictator Watch has learned of two clear and present dangers to international security and peace, emanating from Burma and its ruling military junta, the SPDC. The first is a developing, clandestine trade in refined uranium. The second is the construction of launch facilities in Eastern Burma for ballistic missiles of North Korean origin, which are targeted at Thailand.
We have posted two new photo exhibits of internally displaced persons in Eastern Burma.
Please visit http://www.youtube.com/noolympics for videos about the boycott against the Beijing Olympics.
Right: An ill child at a clinic in Eastern Burma.
May 2007: We have received new intelligence about a secret agreement between Burma and North Korea.
Also, recent events have revealed that Burma's junta, the SPDC, has a weakness. Its primary international supporter, China, is now vulnerable to pressure due to the fact that it will host the 2008 Olympics. This is an opportunity that people working for freedom in Burma must grasp: Free Burma! Boycott China's Genocide Olympics!
March 2007: We were interviewed for the website Burma Digest, and provided an overview of the military junta's nuclear program, and also information about previously secret Dictator Watch initiatives. We were also asked to comment for the daily radio broadcast by the Voice of America into Burma on the Iranian Foreign Minister's second visit to the country in two months, during which trip the two countries announced their intention to cooperate on energy projects. We would note that Iran, and also North Korea, are currently subject to United Nations Security Council sanctions. If, as our sources tell us, Burma's junta, the SPDC, is selling refined uranium to both countries, it is breaking these sanctions. This assuredly warrants the Security Council's investigation.
Images of suspected uranium mine and refinery in Burma.
We have a new article, Lessons from the American Revolution, and a related press release, A Lesson in Revolution.
January 2007: An analysis of the vetoes by China and Russia of the Security Council resolution on Burma: The "United Nations."
Our first press release of the year, Burma Nuclear Proliferation Intel, and three related statements:
Analysis of Burma's Nuclear Program
Prospects for United Nations Security Council Action on Burma
The People of Burma
We also note the deaths of three more dictators:
Augusto Pinochet - It's great that he finally died, but terrible that the Chilean government never held him to account for his crimes against humanity. There can be no justice, for the victims of such tyrants, or society at large, until they have been punished. The fact that Pinochet was not punished will make it much more difficult for Chile to escape the legacies of his misrule.
Saparmurat Niyazov - It will be interesting to see how Turkmenistan, under complete thrall to Niyazov's personality cult, responds to his passing. His cronies will try to maintain the status quo, but since there was no heir apparent, as in North Korea, the darkness over the country, the fog of brainwashing that clouded people's vision, should begin to lift.
Saddam Hussein - Someone commented that he had it too easy; his death was over in a second. He should have had to rot the rest of his life away in prison. But his death also ends a disgusting chapter in Iraq's history, which the country can and will move forward from; and it also means conclusively that there is no possibility that he will escape and return to power.
December 2006: We have two guest articles by David O'Hanlon: United States Interests and Burma; and Karen Myths.
We also have a number of new photo essays, including:
Freedom Fighters of the Karen National Liberation Army, by Kirran Shah
Three compilations of recent Free Burma Ranger photography: Burma Army positions; internally displaced persons; and Burma Army atrocities. (Caution, the last includes strong images.)
We were interviewed by BBC's Burmese service about our information that Burma and North Korea are working together on nuclear proliferation. Both of last month's articles were published on numerous websites of the World News Network. And we had a letter to the editor in the Nation (Thailand) decrying the actions of foreign speculators who have been engaged in the manipulation of the Thai currency.
November 2006: We received secret information relevant to a critical threat to international security: Nuclear Proliferation and Burma, the Hidden Connection.
We also have a new article about the crisis in North Korea, where we disagree, strongly, with the conventional wisdom on the subject: China - The Reat Threat, Boycott China! As the title makes clear, we blame China for North Korea's nuclear test, and are calling for a boycott of goods manufactured in the nation in the upcoming holiday season and beyond. We further ask that other organizations dedicated to freedom in China, and Tibet, and also freedom for its client dictatorships including North Korea, Burma, and the Sudan, support and publicize this boycott as well.
October 2006: Our statement on the five year anniversary of the Dictator Watch website, Actions Speak Louder Than Words; and a follow-up to our statement about the coup in Thailand, The Role of the Military in a Democracy.
September 2006: Thaksin Shinawatra, the wannabe dictator of Thailand, is now conclusively gone!!! Our statement regarding his fall: Thailand's Middle Way.
This statement was used as a feature editorial in the Nation (Thailand) on the one week anniversary of the coup.
Our statement in response to Burma being formally added to the agenda of the United Nations Security Council: Are You Ready to Act?
We also had a letter in the Nation (Thailand) recently about the alleged bomb plot against caretaker PM Thaksin. In addition, yet another dictator, Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, has died. Good riddance.
2006: A Fractured Movement?,
our analysis of certain important fault lines in the Burma democracy movement,
which make the goal of achieving freedom for the country more remote than ever.
To emphasize just how important this goal remains, and why such differences of opinion, and strategy, must be addressed, please review the latest photography from the humanitarian relief missions of the Free Burma Rangers.
June 2006: Asymmetry in Strategy: our analysis of the qualitative differences between the strategy of SPDC dictator Than Shwe, and the strategy of the Burma Democracy Movement, with related comments on the immorality of international diplomats.
May 2006: In response to a series of events that occurred in Burma in the last month and a half, we issued a new statement: The Revolution in Burma Begins Now!
We also prepared three compilations of photography from the Free Burma Rangers, from the humanitarian relief mission reports that they have published since the end of last year.
We are also pleased that the tyrant King of Nepal has yielded to popular pressure and allowed the Nepalese Parliament to be reestablished. Popular pressure against dictatorial political regimes appears to be breaking out all over the world.
April 2006: The dry season offensive by the Burma Army is building to a head and there are now more than nine thousand people who have had to flee for their lives. To this we say: The Crisis in Burma Demands Intervention!
We posted the article by Htun Aung Gyaw that was censored by the National League for Democracy and the Mizzima website: The Breaking of the Dead End. We did this in the interests of free speech. This post does not imply that we agree with everything in the article. We also have a new photography exhibit, of images of the humanitarian crisis now underway in Eastern Burma.
Right: A murder victim of the SPDC. Possibly a porter who could no longer carry his load. One thing is clear, until the dictatorship is eliminated, the body count of innocent victims will continue to rise.
We also note that another dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, of the now defunct Yugoslav Federation, has died; and that the former dictator of Liberia, Charlers Taylor, has been arrested and is awaiting trial for crimes against humanity.
To Than Shwe and Maung Aye: Yor own day of reckoning is coming!
Lastly, we have a statement regarding the fall of Thaksin Shinawatra: Congratulations to the People of Thailand. (This statement was also printed in the Nation newspaper inThailand.)
March 2006: We have a comment about a recent event, of censorship, that illuminates two of the factors holding back a new popular uprising in Burma: National Endowment for Hypocrisy.
As our March Situation Report reveals, the SPDC dry season offensive is now underway, with significant conflict and Burma Army atrocities occurring in Karen State. We have also responded to a list of questions about Burma that were posed by an American university student, and appended to our answers an analysis of the prospects for a popular uprising in the country.
The answers to a second set of questions, about the philosophy of Dictator Watch, posed by a Bulgarian activist, have been posted on Activism 101.
January 2006: Our statement on the resignation of Razali Ismail, United Nations Special Envoy for Burma. (This was also posted by Narinjara.com)
2006 is the year for freedom in Burma! We have posted a new statement dedicated to this end: Revolutionary Fatigue, or Freedom?; and also a new article, False Positives, about the Bush Administration's assault on a foundation of the U.S. legal system, the right not to be falsely accused of a crime.
December 2005: Our analysis of the prospective mechanics of a popular uprising in Burma - Freedom for Burma: Now means NOW!!!; and further illustration of why the military junta, the SPDC, must be brought down as soon as possible - The Life of the Karen: Insight into Burmese Oppression of the Karen. (Note: this article was originally prepared as a brief for a member of Sweden's Parliament.)
October 2005: Convincing the United States Government, a new article that describes a major two year campaign to get the U.S. to back democracy in Burma with sincerity, i.e., to support pro-democracy and indigenous resistance groups on the ground inside the country. This campaign failed the U.S. is not sincere and the article explains why.
The article also argues that the people of Burma must do more to help themselves. To this end we are posting the African National Congress publication, Guide to Underground Work, which has already been distributed on a number of Burma lists.
Lastly, we have posted the latest mission report and photography from the Free Burma Rangers.
September 2005: Announcing Activism 101, a major new initiative of Dictator Watch.
July 2005: Lull before the Storm, an appraisal of the current situation in Burma, and of its implications for the democracy movement; accompanied by two photo exhitits of internally displaced persons: IDP children, and IDP encampments at night.
Concerning other parts of the world, we offer belated congratulations to the people of the Ukraine and of Kyrgystan, who have cast their dictators aside and won their freedom. What a tremendous accomplishment! Well done! Of course, now the hard work begins. A just democracy does not come easily.
For the people of Burma, it is now your turn. This is the year for Burma to be free!
We also note that the dictator of Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema, has died; and also one of the leading religious dictators: Pope John Paul II.
May 2005: Acts of Desperation, our statement on the May 7th bombings in Rangoon; and two new photo exhibits describing the current situation faced by the Shan people of Burma:
- SPDC Abuses in Eastern Shan State
- Fear and Insecurity in Eastern Shan State
Acts of Desperation was posted by the Mizzima News Agency, printed in the Arakan Post (#8), and featured on the new Burma Indymedia website.
April 2005 No Surrender! We responded to a report about Burma commissioned by the European Union, which concluded that the country will always be a dictatorship and that we in the democracy movement, and the people of Burma, should just give up.
We also posted a new collection of photography from the Free Burma Rangers.
Internally displaced persons at a hide site in Toungoo District, Karen State, Burma, January 2005.
March 2005 We released three related statements on the current situation in Burma:
- The United Nations and Burma
- The United States and Burma
- The Tipping Point
article was also published in the Speaking Freely column of Asia Times
Online. In addition, we were interviewed by the Democratic Voice of Burma
about it, which interview was twice broadcast into Burma.
We also prepared a new photo exhibit, about an internally displaced person crisis affecting the Karen people, that began following an attack by the Burma Army in January.
We have further been engaged in extensive fieldwork and private advocacy. We are working to extend Green Empowerment's solar electrification projects for Karen in-country medical clinics; and we are advising on efforts to assist child soldiers who escape from the Burma Army (where they have been forced to serve), including making a submission to the United Nations on this subject.
January 2005 To clear up a lot of fuzzy thinking, about Iraq and other totalitarian states where it may or may not be appropriate for a foreign party to intervene and end the repression, we prepared a new article: The Logic of Military Intervention. We also posted five photo essays from the Free Burma Rangers about renewed Burma Army offensives against internally displaced persons in Karen and Karenni states, and photography of Phase 2 of the Green Empowerment solar electrification project for in-country Karen medical clinics.
December 2004 In response to a torrent of news out Burma, we prepared Strategy for Burma, an analysis for the democracy movement on how we can take advantage of opportunities that now exist and implement a comprehensive and powerful strategy to drive the dictatorship out. As part of this, we are repeating our offer to moderate Burma strategy forums for any interested groups, using the suggestions in the analysis as a guide.
November 2004 We have caught up with some of our past-due updates, by posting a number of new photography shows, including exhibits detailing humanitarian relief programs that were conducted in Burma as recently as last month.
Shan internally displaced children in Burma
Also, for anyone who found George Bush's tally in the 2004 U.S. presidential election difficult to fathom, Freedom From Form provides a comprehensive and fundamental explanation of why and how such a result could have occurred.
The election demonstrates a hard truth about persuasion. The people who are best at influencing us, such as to vote for them, are not the best educators, the people who can best explain the intricacies of complex issues and present well-reasoned arguments. Rather, they are the masters of situational form, the people who are most adept at rhetoric and behavioral manipulation. In almost all cases involving large groups of people, the latter will be more persuasive, will attract more followers, than the former.
Freedom From Form, Nations and Government chapter
October 2004 In the aftermath of the arrest of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt by the other top generals of Burma's military dictatorship, the SPDC, we released an analysis of its import for the democracy movement: Who will be the first to shake Soe Win's hand? (Lieutenant General Soe Win is the new Prime Minister, and also reportedly the man who arranged the ambush of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on May 30, 2003.) This article argues, contrary to conventional wisdom, that the purge, which is not yet finished - the SPDC is shutting down Military Intelligence - is not a setback for the democracy movement. Rather, it is an opportunity: an opportunity that we must exploit.
Following the article's release, we were interviewed about it for the Voice of America's Burmese radio service.
We have also revised our Real Change Requires Chaos public forum (see second following paragraph) to concentrate solely on Burma, and would like to organize with interested individuals and groups to hold it in other locations. The forum can be held on its own or as part of a larger Burma program. It is comprised of a single thirty minute presentation, followed by questions and answers - a wide-ranging and open discussion - for up to additional hour. Its goal is to originate and plan new initiatives to achieve the democracy movement's objectives.
We will publicize the results of each forum (with the confidentiality of the participants preserved). The entire series is designed to provide a way to refine and redirect the movements strategic and tactical planning.
We hosted a new public forum, titled Real Change Requires Chaos, discussing Dictator Watch's social change theory, which is grounded in chaos theory, and using as the forum's principal examples the need to remove the military dictatorship in Burma and to change humanity's destructive relationship with nature. This forum was held at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and also at the nearby town of Nederland. It was very well received.
In addition, we were interviewed for Denver Community Television's contemporary affairs program, Speaking Out.
issued an article, Development
in Burma, to coincide with the conference, Managing Economic Transitions:
The Role of Global Institutions and Lessons for Burma/Myanmar, held in Washington,
D.C. This article was also well received. We were interviewed about it by the
BBC's Burmese radio service, and it was also posted on the Speaking Freely
feature of Asia Times Online.
June - September 2004 We have been engaged in extensive fieldwork for the last four months, during which time we were unable to update the website. The following describes some of our activities during this period. Other items will be listed in October's update.
We issued the statement, Betrayal by Europe, our concise reflection on the European Union's willingness to attend the October 8-9 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi, in which the dictators of Burma will also participate. Europe backed down in the face of Asian blackmail, and agreed to attend, even though none of the conditions that they set for their participation in the meeting, starting with the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, have been met.
We helped publicize the report by the Karen Women's Organisation, Shattering Silences, about the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war by the Burma Army, using as the heading for our statement the last words of one of the rape victims: I am not willing to live in this world anymore.
We have had some involvement in the ongoing ceasefire negotiations between the Karen National Union and Burma's dictators, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), including being the organization to announce the offer from East Timor to provide a neutral venue for the talks. We have released two interviews with the head of the KNU Information Department regarding the talks:
East Timor offers to host KNU - SPDC ceasefire talks
KNU ceasefire with the SPDC
also released an interview about KNU perspectives on the positions of the United
Nations and the European Union towards Burma:
KNU on the positions of the UN and the EU
This interview refers to a letter we initiated from the KNU to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. We also assisted in the preparation of a letter to Kofi Annan from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)
More generally, we have been advising the Karen on the internal organization issues that they face as they prepare to participate in what one day will be a free and democratic Burma. We have suggested that now is the time to clean house and that they should focus on internal unity and strive to speak with one voice. We participated - the only non-Karen organization to do so - in the Third Annual Karen National Unity Seminar.
We also visited Burmese political prisoners held at Bangkok's Immigration Detention Center (IDC), and provided assistance and forwarded messages. These prisoners were described in our statement, Persons of No Concern.
Under the administration of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand is repressing Burma democracy activists, including forcing all activists resident in urban areas to move to rural internment centers, and arresting anyone who demonstrates at Burma's Bangkok embassy. (Under prior Thai governments, such individuals were allowed to demonstrate - their democratic rights of freedom of expression and association were assured.) The United Nations High Commissoner for Refugees (UNHCR) in turn has ignored the detainees' plight, even though UNHCR has an office at the IDC, preferring instead a position of complicity with PM Thaksin. We initiated a pressure campaign on the UNHCR to get it to fulfill its protection mandate - many of the detainees have been registered by the UN as Persons of Concern - with the result that some individuals have been released.
And, we had a letter in the Nation (Thailand) about why the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) support Burma's military regime.
May 2004 Fighting off great pressure, the National League for Democracy resisted attending the sham National Convention of Burma's dictatorship, the State Peace and Development Council. We must now reward their bravery, by forcing the SPDC's remaining international supporters, beginning with the United Nations, the European Union and Australia, to change their policy and act FOR democracy. To this end we have posted an analysis - Burma: It is time for the U.N. and the E.U. to act!.
We have also posted three new summary
relief mission reports, with photography, from the Free Burma Rangers; and
we have posted an article, You
Die Today, So I Can Live Tomorrow: Confronting the Stalin Myth, about
the difficulty of gaining justice in Russia for Stalin's crimes against humanity,
which should also serve as a warning for pro-democracy advocates in all nations
that are or have been subject to dictatorial repression.
April 2004 We are at a turning point in the effort to achieve democracy in Burma, but we can only take advantage of it if the international community grasps the opportunity. Those parties which have promoted engagement with the military junta, including the United Nations, the European Union, and Australia, must recognize, in the wake of the junta's recent actions, that their strategy does not work. Instead, they should join the United States in a strong and unified approach to pressure the dictatorship and also its regional supporters.
Note: The Nation newspaper (Thailand) was kind enough to print this comment as a letter to the editor.
In addition to the above analysis, we have three new posts: a report, with photos, of a Free Burma Rangers relief mission into Arakhan State; a report of a Lahu Free Burma Rangers relief mission into the Eastern Shan States; and a photo essay of solar energy training and installations provided for eleven clinics in Karen State.
March 2004 We have posted a new update about the internally displaced person crisis in Eastern Burma; a report of a Free Burma Rangers relief mission into Toungoo District, Karen State; and an update on the condition of a young Karen girl, Naw Moo Day Wah, who was shot by the Burma Army in October 2002.
Photo right: A Karen man surveys the ruins of his home and of his life. He is yet another victim of the campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Burmese dictatorship, the State Peace and Development Council (some peace!, some development!).
February 2004 Our latest press release: The world stands by and does nothing: the crisis in Eastern Burma; and the January mission report from the Free Burma Rangers relief mission to Northern Karen State. FBR has determined that the crisis underway in Eastern Burma is of a greater scale than previously known. There are now some 5,700 internally displaced persons from the Burma Army's new campaign of ethnic cleansing in Northern Karen and Southern Karenni States (to make way for the development of a wolfram and silver mine), although this figure does not include IDPs hiding further north in Karenni State, which figure is unknown. The Burma Army has been intensifying attacks in the northernmost district of Karen State and also Southern Karenni State, and relief teams are unable to enter these areas to provide assistance and to document the crisis.
January 2004 We are tracking and documenting a developing humanitarian crisis in Eastern Burma, and we also released a New Years' call to action for the entire Burma democracy mevement.
- January 20th update on the crisis;
- Emergency in eastern Burma: press release, photography;
- New humanitarian crisis in Burma; and Democracy in Burma: It's Now or Never!
November 2003 We have posted a new paper: "The Karen People of Burma, and the Karen National Union," prepared with the cooperation of the KNU. Notably, this paper describes the systematic campaign of genocide to which the Karen (and also the Karenni and the Shan) have been subjected. The United Nations, and the signatory nations of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, are obliged to intervene and end the genocide being committed in Burma. Further, Burma's neighbors, through extending the dictatorship both economic and military support, thereby perpetuating its rule, are complicit in this genocide.
October 2003 Empathy, Sympathy and Objectivity - continuing comments on press coverage of Burma, and the activities of diplomats therefor (which comments also apply more generally to the actions of journalists and diplomats in all dictatorship to democracy social change situations); summary mission reports for three humanitarian missions to Northern Karen State by the Free Burma Rangers; and a full mission report of an FBR mission to Eastern Shan State. The second summary report includes information on a seventeen year-old girl who was raped and murdered. The Shan State report contains information on a woman who was gang-raped by twenty Burmese soldiers; intelligence on the narcotics trade; and other information about human rights abuses committed by the Burmese dictatorship, including forced labor and religious persecution.
September 2003 We won't forget, and we won't be fooled again - our statement calling on the people of Burma never to forget which foreign governments assisted their SPDC oppressors, and to punish such nations by denying them economic opportunities in Burma once it is free, and precautionary comments regarding the deluge of pro-dictatorship commentary to be expected now that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is once again under house arrest (as if this were a positive development!); and summary mission reports for five humanitarian relief missions by the Free Burma Rangers.
August 2003 Follow the Money - why the government of Thailand backs the Burmese military dictatorship; a recent letter to the Bangkok Post about this issue; and photo essays about assistance programs for Karen child soldiers (so they can attend school), and escaped child soldiers from the Burma Army. Also, although we are currently busy working to realize democracy in Burma, we remain committed to anti-dictatorship struggles in other parts of the world. For example, we recently joined other NGOs to sign a statement calling for international military sanctions against Indonesia in response to developments in Aceh and West Papua. This included a call for an arms embargo of Indonesia and the recall of all weapons previously supplied to the Indonesian military, an end to all cooperation with the Indonesian military and police, and a call to pressure the Indonesian government to end military operations in Aceh and Papua. We are extremely disturbed by Australia's revitalized support for the Indonesian military, in particular for its special operations unit, Kopassus, which was responsible for great war crimes in East Timor and throughout Indonesia under dictator Suharto, and which has never been held accountable.
The Burma Freedom and Democracy Act: the beginning of the end for the SPDC; a photo essay of a Dictator Watch food relief program for Burmese IDP mothers and their children; three stories from young Karen war orphans, in their own words, about how the Burma Army murdered their fathers, and how they have struggled to survive since this happened; and a remembrance and warning regarding the Preah Vihar incident in June 1979, when the Thai government refouled some forty-five thousand Cambodian refugees, thousands of whom subsequently died.
July 2003 Burma Relief Mission, and Analysis of Prime Minister Thaksin of Thailand; Free Burma Rangers relief mission report; four photo shows from inside Burma - Life on the Run in Karen State, Burned Villages, Wounded Children, and Murder Victims.
June 2003 Relief Mission, Mine Victim, and Additional Analysis of Burma: our latest press release. This release describes a report, with photography, of a new relief mission into Burma, which among other things provided medical aid to over 1,200 internally displaced persons; a report, with photography, of a Karen man who was severely injured by a landmine in April this year, and for whom we are trying to raise donations; and our continuing analysis of the opportunity for the Burma democracy movement precipitated by the dictatorship's ambush of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Let the People of Burma Decide: our action plan in response to the SPDC's May 30th ambush of democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
2003 We published an article, with photography, about a road-building
forced labor project in Burma. This article also proposes that the forced
relocation camps where the forced laborers live can more accurately be described
as concentration camps.
April 2003 A Dictator Watch contributor was attacked at the Thai border with Burma. We published three short stories, with photos, of SPDC crimes against humanity committed against the Karen people in Dooplaya District, Karen State, Burma. We issued a press note on a recent humanitarian mission to Burma, into the South-Eastern Shan States, and posted to the site photography from and a summary report for this mission.
March 2003 We issued a press release titled War in Iraq, and Child Soldiers and a Humanitarian Mission in Burma, with a short statement of our position on the Iraq war and announcing: an interview with escaped Burmese child soldiers; a photo essay and mission summary (detailing dozens of crimes against humanity) for a relief mission into Burma from December 30 - January 20; that the Thai National Human Rights Commission is now investigating the circumstances described in the report The Fifth-Five That Disappeared; and the publication of a new article - the Future of the Earth. We also continue to work with the East Timor Action Network in its effort to ensure that the United States military does not resume cooperation with the Indonesian military; and with the Free Burma Coalition in its boycotts of American companies that import goods from Burma. We are pleased to announce that both May Department Stores and Saks Fifth Avenue have ceased sourcing goods from Burma
February 2003 We issued a press release titled Questions for Thailand, announcing three new reports documenting examples of Thailand's support for the Burmese dictatorship: The Fifty-Five That Disappeared; Sixty-Three Lives That Do Not Matter; and The Yielding of Thai Sovereignty. We also published a new photo essay, Reasons to be a Refugee, describing the characteristics of Black Zones and the conditions of porters, internally displaced persons and refugees. Also, our documentation effort was the subject of a six minute feature on Radio Free Asia's Burmese service. Lastly, the clinic described in the Saving Lives link has now been fully funded.
January 2003 We released photography of refugees of the Burmese dictatorship's new offensive against the Karen ethnic group, including commentary thereon; and publicized ongoing harassment and intimidation by the Thai authorities of humanitarian workers along the Thai/Burma border.
December 2002 The release of the Dictator Watch Manifesto; two additional chapters of Freedom From Form, Education, and Ethics, are now on the site; and many other ongoing efforts. We joined a number of groups to pressure the US government not to reestablish relations with the Indonesian military (specifically, not to provide funding therefor in the 2003 budget), in part because it has not been punished, or reformed, for the atrocities it committed in East Timor (the war crimes trials were a joke); two western activists were recently arrested in Aceh and are still being held; and due to the military's suspected involvement in the murder of a Free Papua leader and two American schoolteachers, among others. For Burma, there is another boycott success (the boycott was led by the Free Burma Coalition): Burlington Coats Factory announced that it would stop sourcing from the country. Lastly, we're happy to report that Pepsi dumped Britney, hopefully the beginning of her demise as a symbol of the perversion that is modern culture. Now, if everyone would just stop drinking Pepsi and all the other caffeine sugar waters.
November 2002 We published two exclusive photo series taken inside Burma, one of horrific war crimes and the other of the dictatorship's drug trade into Thailand, along with an accompanying press release; and, we updated, including with new photography, our exhibit of earlier images from Burma (taken near the Unocal/TotalFinaElf pipeline) published on the site in September.
August-September 2002 We issued our first formal foreign policy analysis, on the relations between nations, entitled Interference and Intervention; we were offered photography from inside Burma, which was taken near the Unocal/TotalFinaElf pipeline; we posted photography of atrocities inside Burma; we posted an article about torture in Burma, by the Chin Forum Information Service; we helped fund two Thai/Burma border clinics; we loaded onto the site three currently topical chapters from Freedon From Form - Introduction to Social Solutions, Activism, and Religion; we updated the religious dictatorship link with additional outrages (scroll down to Islam and Hinduism); and we released the following article on American Independent Media Center websites: Tiger Woods and Britney Spears: Products, or Prostitutes? Also, in great news, Children's Place announced that they will stop buying goods from Burma (see June-July below), and Premier Oil from the UK announced the divestment of their Burmese operations. The latter action leaves Unocal and TotalFinaElf as the remaining western oil companies providing significant support to the dictatorship. With sufficient pressure, we will get them out too. (Please help with this.)
right: Karen internally displaced persons arriving at the Thai border, in heavy
rain. They were refused entry, and forced to return into Burma. The girl was
being carried because she had malaria and could not walk. Did she live, or die?
There is no way to know.
June-July 2002 A busy period. We displayed our Burma at War photography show at the invitation of Amnesty International, as part of their Human Rights Square at the Festival Mundial in Tilburg, Holland. We began an effort to establish a medical clinic for internally-displaced persons hiding in a dangerous area along the Thai/Burma border. We wrote a new letter to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. However, our attempts to have it delivered to her personally failed, so we published it as an open letter. We also had a letter printed in the Bangkok Post about the hidden complexities of the relationship between the Thai and Burmese governments. We prepared a new installment for our Names and Addresses campaign, about real estate developers. And lastly, we are participating in the Free Burma Coalition's boycott of Children's Place stores, since they source goods from Burma.
At the Festival Mundial. Can you guess what this is?
May 2002 Contrary to conventional thought, we do not believe that the release from house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a breakthrough for the Burmese democracy movement. The second installment of our names campaign, an update on cloning and a review of agricultural biotechnology, was published in the Earth First! Journal. And, we signed on to three letters prepared by the East Timor Acton Network, demanding that the U.S. behave responsibly toward the newly free East Timor and its old colonial master Indonesia.
March 2002 We examined a touchy subject, the idea of military intervention in Burma, proving that there is no issue we will not consider. Intellectual honesty above all!
February 2002 We began a collaboration with the Earth First! Journal, published in the current edition, to identify, systematically, by industry and other groups, the specific individuals responsible for environmental destruction around the world. The first installment is about the cloning industry. We issued an open letter to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmas democracy leader, calling on her to consider ending her secret dialogue with the military dictatorship. We were interviewed by the BBC for their weekly Burma Perspectives radio broadcast, and asked to defend our position in this letter.
January 2002 After twenty-five years of thinking about the basic theme, and almost eleven years of work, Freedom From Form is now, finally, done. Whew!
December 2001 We received our first guest article, Obeying the Dictators, by Jeff Larochelle. Thank you Jeff! We also received our second guest article, On the Burmese Economy, by U Thaung, presenting a unique perspective on why the military dictatorship in Burma will be so difficult to defeat, because of little-known historical events. We are still awaiting our first guest photo essay. Cmon all you Earth First!ers and dictatorship-globalization-corporate activists: send us some snaps. Let us publicize your actions to the world!
November 2001 We did our first widespread promotion for Dictator Watch, including publishing four papers, New York and Chaos, Complicity and Culpability, Chaos and Violence, and The Pro-Dictatorship Policy of the United States Government (see links below) on all of the more than sixty Independent Media Center websites worldwide. Among other responses, Quebec IMC featured two of the articles, and Finland IMC provided a translated abstract of one of them. Also, the Summary Prognosis for Burma from our articleBurma and Chaos-Updated was included in BurmaNet, the daily listserv for Burma activists worldwide. Attracted by this posting a Burmese author, U Thaung, wrote a review of the article, which was then broadcast into Burma on Radio Free Asia, and which was also published in the New Era Journal, a newspaper widely distributed along the Burma/Thai border. Lastly, we had another letter printed in the Bangkok Post, about the feudal basis of the democratic dictatorship in Thailand.
October 2001 The Burma at War photography show was exhibited at the Free Burma Coalition's Burma Action Conference at American University in Washington, D.C. (October 27-29) We also participated in the conference demo at the department store Hecht's, which sources goods from Burma.
2001 The Dictator Watch website was launched! This was accompanied by a
series of articles:
- Introduction to Chaos Theory
- Chaos and Violence
- The Roots of Dictatorship (This is a succinct description of the evolution of human society.)
- Change, and the Dictator Watch Paradigm
appraisal of the terrorism in the United States:
- New York and Chaos
- Complicity and Culpability
and efforts related to our on-going activism against the dictatorship in Burma:
- Burma at War photography exhibit title article
- The Pro-Dictatorship Policy of the United States Government
- Burma and the United Nations: UNseat the Regime!
- Burma and Chaos-Updated
August 2001 Dictator Watch co-sponsored, with the East Timor Action Network, Amnesty International, the Indonesia Human Rights Network, School of the Americas Watch - Northeast, and the Catholic Peace Fellowship, a party and protest at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The party was for the first democratic elections ever held in East Timor (that day - August 30th), and the protest was to oppose renewed engagement by the U.S. with Indonesia, particularly military cooperation. Some 100,000 East Timorese are currently being held captive in West Timor by armed gangs, with support from the Indonesian military. The U.S. military already bears substantial complicity in war crimes committed by the Indonesian military; it must not resume any association with them.
The Liberty Bell is in the glass-windowed building, with Independence Hall behind at left. Very apropos for DW. A steady stream of tourists passed the demo, which also included music, both folk and hip-hop!
August 2001 Dictator Watch had a letter printed in the Bangkok Post, regarding the travesty of the Thai Constitutional Court not finding Prime Minister Thaksin guilty of breaking the law on asset disclosure and therefore not barring him from political office for five years.
August 2001 Dictator Watch joined twenty-seven organizations in signing letters which were sent by the Free Burma Coalition to companies found to source retail or other products from Burma.
July 2001 We released a paper in response to the awarding of the 2008 Olympics to China: The Olympics and Dictatorship.
May 2001 Dictator Watch joined twenty-three organizations in calling for thirty garment/apparel companies to cut all product sourcing from Burma.
November 2000 Letters to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer concerning the U.S. Presidential election.
2000 Two papers released on the New York Independent Media Center
website the week of the S8 demos at the United Nations Millennium Summit. We
also participated in the demo at the Burma embassy.
- The Legitimization of Dictatorship
- Media Hypocrisy
August 2000 Dictator Watch demonstrated at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, where we helped organize the Free Burma participation in the Unity 2000 march.
2000 Two papers distributed at the Earth First! Round River Rendezvous in
the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee.
- Social Evolution and Chaos
- Regarding Earth First!
October 1999 We signed on to the amicus brief in support of the appeal of Massachusetts' Burma purchasing law to the U.S. Supreme Court.
October 1999 We offered into the public debate on Burma, and had conveyed to freedom fighters inside Burma itself, a short paper on the future of the democracy movement: Burma and Chaos. (We also participated in a Burma conference at Thammasat University in Bangkok, and distributed the paper to members of the Burmese Students Association resident at Maneeloy Camp.)
September 1999 The first formal Dictator Watch action: we demonstrated at the Burma Embassy in Bangkok on the four 9's (September 9, 1999), joining hundreds of exiled Burmese students and refugees in protest of the control of their nation by an illegal military dictatorship. We were also at the embassy in October when it was occupied by the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors.
- June 1997 The following two papers accompanied two different photography
shows which were given at, among other places, Blackout Books in New York City,
American University, and the universities of North Carolina, Indiana, Oklahoma,
and Wisconsin (Madison and Milwaukee campuses).
- Constructive Engagement
- World Travelers and the Environment