Contact: Roland Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR HYPOCRISY
March 8, 2006
In our recent analysis of the prospects for a new popular uprising in Burma, at
the end of Burma Questions
and Answers, we observed that:
- The United States will not fund real on-the-ground democracy initiatives inside
- It is regrettable that the possibility of such an uprising is not a regular
and public subject of interest by Burmese media and pro-democracy groups.
Due to an incident that has just occurred on the Mizzima website (www.mizzima.com),
we can now understand these issues more clearly, and also see that they are linked.
On March 1, Mizzima published a commentary by Htun Aung Kyaw, President of the
Civil Society of Burma, titled The NLDs dead end. He argued
that the NLDs recent offer to the SPDC is insufficient, and that much stronger
steps, even armed action, are required to unseat the dictatorship. Mizzima received
numerous letters stating, in Mizzimas words, that it promoted an armed
uprising in Burma and the use of violence against the military. This in
itself is surprising, that the letter writers would reject out of hand the possibility
of self defense against the murderous tyrant Than Shwe. It also appears to be
an attempt by these individuals to censor the website, to prohibit such a discussion.
It seems to me that people who say we cant even talk about revolution in
Burma, are closet SPDC sympathizers.
One of Mizzimas main funders, the National Endowment for Democracy, also
complained, asking them to retract the commentary, which they did. The NED is
a leading source of money for the Burma democracy movement, distributing funds
authorized by the United States Government. It funds many Burmese media and pro-democracy
groups. It is now apparent that NED policy is silencing such media and groups
about a topic of critical importance: an open discussion of all the possible means
by which Than Shwe might be removed from power. In the United States, free discourse,
freedom of expression, is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution,
the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The National Endowment for Democracy
is suppressing this right in Burma, a society that is still striving for democracy.
The organization opposes the people of Burma acting as Americans did in 1776.
Apparently, according to the NED, even a Burmese Declaration of Independence should
The organization should be renamed the National Endowment for Censorship, or Hypocrisy.
The article is no longer available on the Internet. If anyone has a copy, and
while we might not necessarily agree with all of its content, in the interests
of free speech we would be happy to publish it. (We have been the victims of censorship
as well. Dictator Watch statements are censored from Burma Net, which will no
longer post anything we release, even hard news, e.g., the Karen
U. S. funding for Burma must receive a specific budget allocation, and channel.
Humanitarian funding is distributed through USAID.
Democracy initiatives are funded by the NED and also the State Departments
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL). But the latter two will not
support hard funding, i.e., initiatives that might actually lead to
democracy in Burma now. Instead, they support open society and capacity
building programs. This means that the potential sources for real on-the-ground
democracy projects are limited to the Department of Defense, the CIA and other
intelligence agencies, and perhaps the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).
Until Burma is a pressing interest to the United States, meaning a national security
interest, or until a top American official, at the level of Secretary of State
or higher, develops a sincere, personal concern about the country, such sources
will not become involved. Until this time, it is also hypocritical for Secretary
Rice or President Bush to speak as if they do have such a personal concern for
The NED is stifling the democracy movement, including critical debates and also
action. If you agree with this conclusion, we ask that you email this statement
to the organization, at email@example.com.