Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 06, 2008

Myanmar Asks For Help

by Debs is dead
lifted from a comment

The Myanmar govt has announced that the cyclone which hit that nation over the weekend has caused a death toll of at least 10,000 people.

YANGON - Myanmar's military junta believes at least 10,000 people died in a cyclone that ripped through the Irrawaddy delta, triggering a massive international aid response for the pariah state in southeast Asia.

"The basic message was that they believe the provisional death toll was about 10,000 with 3,000 missing," a Yangon-based diplomat told Reuters in Bangkok, summarising a briefing from Foreign Minister Nyan Win. "It's a very serious toll."

Since this is Myanmar we are talking about, the tragedy is being used by the media to advance the aim of the re-colonisation of the country's hydrocarbon and mineral resources.

In fact the reason I linked to my local fishwrap is that most other stories (eg. this BBC one) are written with a sub-text to advance the re-conquest rather than any attempt to rouse aid to this country which has been battered by the west's sanctions and now faces one of the worst natural disasters to hit anywhere this year.

The BBC persists in using Mynamar's slave name Burma as well as running allied articles such as Disaster tests Junta a blatant attempt to reduce empathy and therefore any assistance to this country, in order to favor England's recolonisation by ensuring the population suffer as much as possible.

The Herald story also repeats the assertion that the Myanmar govt doesn't want aid:

"At this moment as I understand it the Burmese government has not given them permission to go into the country," State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters.

This is kinda weird because I have just heard a Myanmar Govt official on the radio saying they have been asking for assistance and haven't blocked any of the few relief agencies which have come so far from entering Myanmar. You'll notice this Casey bloke hasn't actually said anyone had been blocked but that 'permission hadn't been given.' Presumably he means that Myanmar hasn't assigned a mob of bureaucrats to ring every aid agency in the world and tell them they can come if they want. An unusual way of doing things since at other times when these NGO's are less worried about offending USuk, they behave more pro-actively and ask if they can help before waiting for an invite.

This disaster has devastated much of the nation's infrastructure and in all likelihood the niceties of diplomatic protocol have had to be foregone while peeps get assisted. However it would be foolish to expect any such appreciation of that fact from our media.

Posted by b on May 6, 2008 at 7:14 UTC | Permalink


First Lady Laura Bush, who takes a special interest in Burma, urged Burma to accept $250,000 (£126,000) already allocated for emergency aid, and said more would be available if the team was allowed into the country.

She also accused the Burmese authorities of failing to give a "timely warning" about the approaching storm, after which five regions - home to 24 million people - have been declared disaster zones.

and the "team" is going to go into Burma to verify what the whole world already knows -- that theres a biblical disaster underway. This might explain why it took so long for FEMA's "team" to verify Katrina. And its not like they had to ask for anyones permission to go there. The forms of aid needed in these type crisis are very predictable. And we can get to the finger-pointing later.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 6 2008 11:36 utc | 1

The BBC is now calling the death toll at 22,000. That, at least to me, is unimaginable. I had gone through three major hurricanes a few years ago, including Katrina, and just can't understand why so many people in Myanmar had to die -- seems mostly from the storm surge -- in a cyclone that was known about and being tracked for days before landfall. My only thought is that there either wasn't an evacuation plan, or there wasn't anywhere for them to go to safety.

Posted by: Ensley | May 6 2008 12:54 utc | 2

NPR interviewed a representative of Worldvision, which has ongoing projects in Burma/Myanmar (even within the country both names are regarded as problematic) and has already moved into relief mode.

Does anyone here know about Worldvision? I wonder if that might be a good organization through which to send contributions for cyclone relief?

Sent email to old school friend from the country, asking how to help. No reply so far.

Posted by: small coke | May 6 2008 16:27 utc | 3

"The BBC persists in using Mynamar's slave name Burma as well as running allied articles such as Disaster tests Junta a blatant attempt to reduce empathy and therefore any assistance to this country, in order to favor England's recolonisation by ensuring the population suffer as much as possible."

Yeah, Debs is Dead. Spot on right. So percipient. Gordon Brown can't wait to gert his Scotch hands on Myanmar. Just like he is plotting the overthrow of Mugabe with the aim of recolonising Zimbabwe. And of course, the Yanks are plotting the invasion and colonisation of Ireland - as witness the insistence of successive Washington administrations in calling the capital of Ireland by its "slave" name Dublin rather than the correct Gaelic name Baile Atha Cliath. And the reconquest of Deutschland as evidenced by the persistence of the use of "Germany" by Bush. Ditto Nippon/Japan. Ditto Sverige/Sweden. Suomi/Finland. Magyar/Hungary. Hellas/Greece. Al Misr/Egypt......Sur evidence of American colonialist/imperialist ambition.

Grow up.

Oh, and by the way, it's spelt Myanmar.


Posted by: Mick | May 6 2008 17:24 utc | 4

@small coke - "World Vision" - maybe not:

World Vision is a far-right evangelical missionary operation that does missionary and "good work" operations in countries where there is a political purpose for it to be there. From it's inception, it was rabidly anti-Communist and it focused on refugee populations of people running from countries that had been taken over by Communism. This was from the fifties on.

World Vision had a hand in the movement of the Cubans into the United States and other refugees of revolutionary regimes. When you're a refugee you're cut loose, basically, and pretty much fair game to be manipulated by whoever is willing to give you a hand because you don't have a home or any place to stay and somebody has got to accept you.

World Vision was able to recruit out of these mercenary populations, people who could be politically turned to their intelligence purposes. World Vision served as a penetration force -- not as visible as the military actually going in or the CIA going in -- going in as missionaries and working among the people.

This link between missionary and intelligence for capitalistic infiltration operations goes way back. It was part of the internationalism with the Rockefellers. It's talked about in a book called Thy Will Be Done[4] about Rockefeller, Venezuela, and Latin American Oil, the Summer Linguistic Institute, World Vision and others. But they operated in this way for a long time.

I don't know the source, but I'd be careful about trusting World Vision. Google "world vision"+CIA and check yourself.

Posted by: b | May 6 2008 18:16 utc | 5

Thank you for this post did, and for b, for highlighting it...As if these poor people haven't already been through the ringer.

And now they have to watch out for predators... Humanity sucks sometimes, sigh...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 6 2008 18:41 utc | 6

The name burma only recognises the burman people (more like referring to all of germany as Prussia than calling it Deutchsland or whatever) who the brits are supporting through continued assistance to their protege Aung Sung Suu Kyi (small minded pedants hunt for typos in there please). As we have discussed before Suu Kyi is the daughter of General Aung Sung (Some may find her complete bio difficult to find at the moment. A war of words goes on at wiki where one side puts up some salient details of her life which the other side 'edits' out, especially details of her work for, and support of the govt she now criticises.)

Anyway for over 20 years the brits have been trying to groom Suu Kyi in the same manner they groomed Benazir Bhutto, another dictator's daughter.
Her father General Aung Sung led the first massacre of the Karin people setting off a cyclone of slaughter which unfortunately has killed many more than the present meteorological one. In fact the attacks on the Karin have declined and since the military government has made some efforts to assist minorities the various nationalist armies have also gone into decline.

For many years Suu Kyi worked as a diplomat for the leaders she now claims to abhor.

It is worth noting that shrub is criticising the Myanmar govt for refusing to allow amerikan military into the country. This is surely understandable given amerika's demonstrated reluctance to leave a sovereign state once the mission has been accomplished.

As Iraq has demonstrated, however bad a country's govt may be it is never as bad as the subjugation of colonisation. If mick whoever refuses to acknowledge the new wave of imperialism that has returned as a viable, and acceptable strategy for whitefella countries now that resources are getting harder to come by ,that is merely a reflection on his inability to understand that Gordon Brown couldn't organise a good shit much less contain the colonialist thinking that has returned to england's public service elite and england's gutter press, since the bliar triggered it.

If england is so concerned about other governments why doesn't it do something about the Nigerian dictatorship where millions of starving people have died, been machine-gunned bombed or hung thanks to a greedy government which has always had england's support? (see Biafra anyone remember that?) The Nigerian government has always had england's ear, and for whom england provides a bolt hole for rich 'emigres' and education for it's new generations of oppressors. Maybe because that Nigerian govt gives england's oil corporations free access to it's resources it is considered above reproach.
I doubt either Zimbabwe or Myanmar have ever engaged in the sorts of oppression that the Saudi govt has pulled on it's population yet how does england regard that? The english govt squashed an investigation into corruption and bribery over arms sales. Bribery which benefited prince Bandar to the tune of billions of dollars.
The examples are endless. england's foreign policy now is the same as it has historically been, that is it has nothing for anyone's benefit contained in it unless you are a rich englander or an amerikan corporation. The english media has always diverted their audiences attention from the evils within by attacking those nations which have managed to separate themselves from the colonisers.

Criticism of Myanmar or Zimbabwe's administrations by the engish govt and media should always be seen for what they are. An attempt to regain control over resources lost during mid-twentieth century decolonisation.

The people of Myanmar are in genuine need and instead of lending practical assistance the USuk nexus is taking advantage by criticising Myanmar for mistrusting the motives behind amerikan troop deployments to Myanmar. Other nations are lending assistance without insisting upon a military deployment, why cant the USuk imperialists?

Posted by: Debs is dead | May 6 2008 20:31 utc | 7

World Vision, headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, has been the source of donations of clothing and blankets that some of the Samaritans transport down to the migrant stream in Mexico.
The organization solicits and accepts a lot of donations from the local community.

Posted by: Jake | May 6 2008 21:54 utc | 8

That is World CARE that is in Tucson. Sorry!

Posted by: Jake | May 6 2008 22:02 utc | 9

Mick: i'll keep this short, because you are probably busy combing through other posts of people you don't agree with for typos. because the evidence you deride of colonialist/imperialist ambition is so nakedly evident whenever disaster strikes, natural or not, in "regions of interest" where political points can be scored, i can only assume you are a master of selective hearing. More humans will die than necessary in Myanmar because countries like amerika are more interested in using its first lady to scold the junta than actually helping people.

Posted by: Lizard | May 7 2008 2:27 utc | 10

matthew russell lee blogging the u.n. beat @ inner city press briefly mentioned on monday

BAN Ki-moon's disappearing reference to the "Myanmese." He used the word three times, video here from Minute 6:12, but the transcript removes this new word, substitute (sic) "Myanmar people" and "Myanmarese."

Posted by: b real | May 7 2008 2:37 utc | 11

I thought NPR covered it pretty well. They played W saying ~"we just want to do a little looking around, and we'll give you some aid." Seems reasonable to me.

Posted by: dacorilitter | May 7 2008 4:24 utc | 12

the French started referring to the Brits as "the perfidious albion" many hundreds of years ago. Always the Brit govt, would claim to stand for the highest values but in Africa, they was all about divide-and-rule, For example, Westminster's parting gift to Nigeria was an election rigged to favor the entrenched Islamic feudal's of the North, leaving the Anglicans, Protestants & Catholics hung out to dry in the harmattan. Because the Brits decided thats what works for them. But they was'nt done quite yet. The Nigerians were pretty much set on re-structuring their country in response to Biafran demands for self-determination and thats what they would have done but for clandestine pressure & promise of support by the Brits to Colonel Jack Gowon (of Sandhurst) to take on the Biafrans for no other reason than the massive bounty of oil & gas deposits, and it was really all about the Brits wanting it enough to do whatever it takes. And not to excuse the misguided & confused Africans who took the bait including Biafra's own Colonel Ojukwu (likewise Sandhurst), and thats how we end up with a million dead over three years in one of the bloodiest conflicts mankind has ever seen, both sides led by elitely trained Britics.

but the British peoples are very OK in their ways as distinct from the governments they follow.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 7 2008 4:57 utc | 13


Just last week the Myanmar military junta issued a weather warning advisory
to the citizens of Myanmar, echoing that still recent identical warning given
by Mayor Ray Nagin, on the advice of Governor Blanco, on the orders of FEMA
Director Brown, under the direction of DHS Chief Michael Cherthoff, dual-citizen
USA-Israeli, who seems more interested in building a domestic paramilitary.

"Remain calm," they told them. "Stay in your homes."

Today the Myanmar generals were out mingling cheerfully with the rescue
teams, which stole a march on His Excellency George Bush, who merely flew
over Katrina from an altitude of some 18,000 feet. "Can you hear me now?"

Not too many months ago our company was tearing down an old library in the
center of town, as part of urban renewal. In the basement we found some old
Civil Defense supplies from the Cold War. Thus, a library full of dozens, maybe
a hundred people, would be huddling in the basement of this place, as the
hydrogen bombs fell, and these government emergency preparation supplies
would be their only salvation.

We were ordered to clear them out, so we opened them first. There were
cardboard drums, and cardboard boxes, stamped 1963. We opened the
boxes, first medical supplies, vaseline, iodine, aspirin and penicillin, some
tongue depressors, throat swabs, and one right-hand sterile glove. Wow.
Plus lots and lots of bottles of Kaopectate, for radiation diarrhea.

We opened more boxes. Sanitary napkins, which, one supposes, experts
at FEMA wisely planned could also be used as stick-on field bandages!!

The few remaining boxes contained large tins of hard rock candy. Two
flavors to kill the boredom of waiting to die from radiation poisoning.
Yes, lemon and cherry. See, you know already how FEMA thinks!

(Would fights break out as the ratio of lemon to cherry changed? Hmm.)

The drums? Oh, those contained toilet paper, thank Fed! Pull out the
toilet paper, line the drum with a plastic bag, place the rubber oval
over the top, and there you go, an emergency field toilet in a drum,
and I suppose, somewhere to entomb bodies of the newly radioactive.

That's it! The Greatest Disaster in Human History, the End of Humankind,
and our FEMA thoughtfully provided us with toilet paper, sanitary napkins,
and hard rock candy ... enough to last a week! That's how our Fed thinks.

Which goes back to Myanmar. Yes, it's a tragedy now, one we got off lightly
on, only $10M Bush "requisitioned" from Treasury (fire up the presses Ben!),
a whole lot cheaper than last week's biofuel disaster, with another $118M
Bush "requisitioned" from Treasury (print more, faster, Ben!), and of course,
that's nothing compared to Katrina.Con, where Bush and Congress sculpted
$60,000M out of toilet paper and Kaopectate, like McGiver, of which I would
bet my entire life savings any proper audit wouldn't find more than half of.

"Remain calm! All disasters will befall US, heaven and man-made, but that's OK.
Face towards the monitors and look straight ahead. Everything is under control.
We have everything firmly in control. Whatever happens, we'll print more money.
You won't see any of it, but it will be 'taken care of'! It's going to be 'OK'".

"OK" must be an acronym for what the nuclear winter survivors first words are,
when they break open those FEMA emergency survivor kits. Oh, Kaopectate!

Whatever is, is. The Chinese have gone through two stronger typhoons in the
same interval, with orderly evacuations of millions, and not a single soul lost!
Americans? We'll be lucky if Fed leaves us a pot to piss in, after they get finished.
Oppenheimer wasn't talking about the H-bomb itself, when he spoke those famous
words, "I am Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds." He was talking about our M-I Complex.

Michelle Obama made an interesting comment over the weekend, that Democracy is
no longer a spectator sport, and that if we want to survive, we all have to take to
the streets, walk the talk, bang on doors, speak with our neighbors, and come up
with a plan to seize the reins of power, before they become our velvet shackles,
when we're all answering "sir, yes, sir!" to a Neo-Zionist military junta in WADC,
which identifies only those "well-meaning and deserving" who will get any aid,
and tells the rest of us to 'remain calm'.

Or, just vote for McCain, then turn up your TV volume, to drown out the screams.
McCain will slew the Able, so our universe will loop back on itself, snake eating tail,
proving the universe is perfect, even if Michael Brown isn't.

Posted by: Patal Kho | May 7 2008 5:30 utc | 14

It seems that in the reforms of the mid-70's,>the same law that was passed to prohibit the CIA from using reporters as spies also prohibited the use of missionaries. And the same loophole applies: the director of CIA may waive under exceptional circumstances.

An article on this issue from 1996 describes World Vision's position:

World Vision, which has several hundred Americans overseas at any given time, declared in a statement that it often cooperates with government agencies but "forbids its staff to have any relationship with, or provide information to, any intelligence service or agency. The use of even one missionary to gather intelligence can cast suspicion on all Christian workers, foreign or national."

"Cooperate" covers many possibilities. 80% of World Vision funds come from private sources. It has an unspecified relationship with AID, which, of course, is sometimes a position for the odd spy or two, and also for some people of good will. According to their own website, WV often employs people of the country in which they work, not necessarily Christian.

Hard to know. Hard to find charitable organizations with reach, who are not, also, in some way compromised. It does seem that World Vision was a major responder in the great tsunami of 2005. They have had projects in Myanmar for 40 years.

News release dated 5/5>from World Vision-Bangkok concerning needs in Myanmar.

The government of Myanmar has invited World Vision to provide assistance in the form of zinc sheets, tents, tarpaulins and medicine. The agency is coordinating with authorities to explore an airlift of emergency supplies into the country from one of its global warehouses.

World Vision assessment teams have been deployed to the hardest-hit areas to determine the most urgent needs. The agency is already providing clothing (sarongs and t-shirts) as well as tarpaulins and blankets to 100 households in the capital, along with 10,000 kg of rice and 7,000 liters of water.

World Vision estimates that up to 2 million people may be affected by the cyclone. The organization has several community development programs in areas hit by the path of the storm.

In Yangon, Myanmar, World Vision's National Director James Tumbuan described a chaotic scene: "Yangon totally collapsed. All the roads were blocked with fallen trees. The way Yangon used to look, with its big trees, has been totally changed.

"Getting drinking water is a real problem, Tumbuan continued. "We need water purification units like those that were used in the tsunami. It could take days to get the electricity back."

Tumbuan said thousands of people were now camped in government schools in and around Yangon. He noted that one school in particular was now sheltering 5,000 people.

Posted by: small coke | May 7 2008 5:42 utc | 15

@ 14

Chilling post. Thank you. They were expecting our nightmares to become reality, and we were supposed to suck on a sweetie while we died. This is, and always has been, a necrocracy.

Posted by: Tantalus | May 7 2008 14:14 utc | 16

@DID at 7--
ZAB was not a dictator.
He was/is the most popular elected leader in history of this sad country and still is a national martyr here. Although he had flaws of a dictator.
Well its complicated.
BB on the other hand was well on her way to becoming a western stooge.

Posted by: h_b | May 7 2008 15:21 utc | 17

Since NYT has published its list of big relief organizations, I'll post here the names of the>6 NGOs, rated 4-star by Charity Navigator, who have established programs in Myanmar.
Action Against Hunger-USA
Save the Children
World Vision
Kids Alive International
Church World Service

More information about each NGO can be found at>Charity Navigator.

Posted by: small coke | May 7 2008 17:42 utc | 18

its understandable that donators would be apprehensive about handing over money to "unknown" indigenous groups who try to provide & perform more-or-less the same service that NGO's bring to needy environments. These groups exist in every corner of the world, they are unknown, they lack the funds to advertise on Western media, but have the same caring heart and integrity as anyone else anywhere. Working with such groups might be awkward initially for any manner of reasons and some or even many might turn out to be scammers but there are scammers anywhere & everywhere, The NGO's do not bother to recognize such groups in just the same way that Walmart/Target does not recognize the local merchant and shop-keeper.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 8 2008 1:48 utc | 19

@ jbc
No doubt you are correct. I had hoped that my friend from Myanmar would be able to give me such names of active local groups. But he has not yet made it back into the country, and has not been able to contact family and friends there.

In addition, there is the problem of transferring outside currencies to local groups.

For the very reasons that you state, it is difficult to identify and transfer contributions to the local groups without a contact in place. Meanwhile, the proportions of the disaster are overwhelming and IMO some action is better than none.

FWIW my friend reports that the storm veered unexpectedly, had appeared headed for Bangladesh, and that it hit at 3am, when people were sleeping. Which may partly account for the failure of warnings to reach everyone and the very high number of deaths. He also says it has been 250 years since such a storm hit Myanmar.

Posted by: small coke | May 8 2008 16:42 utc | 20

List of offers of international aid accepted and rejected by US after Katrina:

Link to pdf

Posted by: biklett | May 8 2008 21:36 utc | 21

Great list.

I had mentioned to my friend that, despite current US rhetoric, US had rejected foreign offers of aid during Katrina. But the only specific example I could recall was Cuban doctors.

Posted by: small coke | May 9 2008 4:37 utc | 22

It is difficult to analyse reality from diverse news reports at the best of times but when the reports are of a society whose infrastructure has been totally destroyed by a natural disaster compounded by the fact that many news gathering organisations have been barred from entry (IMO for good reason) and those organisations consequently believe such impudence cannot go unpunished, successfully discerning reality becomes impossible.
Last night on my local TVNZ news show, the newsreader interviewed the Red Cross area co-ordinator responsible for the chunk of the globe that contains Myanmar.

The bloke gave details of how the relief effort was building momentum and how they were finally managing to get supplies and manpower down to the Irrawaddy delta area that has been particularly devastated. He went on to say that when one of these disasters occurs it is always a matter of some days before the 'machinery' gets up and running. At this point the newsreader cut across the bloke being interviewed with "What about the Myanmar government? How much trouble have they caused the aid effort?"
The red cross bloke said 'The Myanmar Government and red cross have been working together to ensure that the relief gets in as fast as possible." The newsreader then said gruffly as the Red Cross bloke was in midsentence about the physical impediments which have slowed the arrival of supplies ie that the main seaport has been badly damaged in the cyclone and although the main airport which is not very big and is lacking in modern equipment, it had a limited capacity that it was operating beyond - "Thanks good night" turned to face the other camera then said "As you have heard the junta is blocking relief" when we had just heard nothing of the kind.
Bikletts timely reminder about Katrina is germane here and not just because of the fact that many offers of aid from nations with which amerika had poor relations were rejected, even while peeps were dropping in the superdome.
The Bush administration is keen to make the case that comparatively speaking other nations have reacted to cyclones worse than amerika did with Katrina, but it wants to do so without reminding the peeps of Katrina, which must be why the only response thus far has been an attack on Myanmar's rulers.

I heard a report earlier today that Rice was considering dropping supplies from planes into flooded areas regardless of whether or not Myanmar's govt allowed access but according to this AP report that plan has been rejected.

Asked if the U.S. would air drop aid without the Myanmar junta's permission, Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said: "If you're not asked and it's not requested, it's considered an invasion."

Just as well, any unauthorised drops could only be propaganda plays since the odds of such a drop landing close enough to humans to be accessible without landing on people and killing them is pretty remote. Even the rovians must realise that killing a family of peasants under the pretext of feeding them would be a tough story to spin.

I have no doubt that when the story 'shifts' from the junta denying entry, on to the airport being insufficiently equipped to handle low or nil visibility usage, that the meme in most western media will be critical of the Myanmar government for allowing the sole 'international airport' to become run down. Joe Citizen won't be told that USuk engineered sanctions have prohibited 'luxuries' such as electronic navigation equipment or landing lights from being sold to Myanmar.

Posted by: Debs is dead | May 9 2008 5:15 utc | 23

Right on Did, I am so thankful for your insight and commentary.

Myanmar military exercises Cobra Gold scheduled May

The U.S. Navy has three ships as well as troops in the Gulf of Thailand, within an easy sail of Myanmar, as part of joint military exercises code-named Cobra Gold scheduled for May 8-21. Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore will also take part in the annual war games.

The Myanmar military, which regularly accuses the United States of trying to subvert the regime, is unlikely to allow U.S. military presence in its territory.

In the right place at the right time again, so lucky they are

DoD Press Briefing with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen from the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.

Q Mr. Secretary, Admiral Mullen, can you bring us up to date on preparations for possible humanitarian aid to Myanmar? And could you address the possibility that some action could be taken even without the consent of the government of Myanmar ?

SEC. GATES: Well, again, I'll comment and invite the admiral.

We have the Essex Group -- I think there are three or four ships -- either has or is offloading some helicopters to be available in Thailand, because they could reach Myanmar in a very short -- in a matter of hours from Thailand with relief supplies. There are also, I think, six C-130s available.

The ships then will begin steaming around to the area off of Myanmar to be available. I cannot imagine us going in without the permission of the Myanmar government.

ADM. MULLEN: Admiral Keating is very focused on this. In addition to moving the ships and the C-130s, there's a JTF commander, General Goodman, who is out there and positioned again in Thailand.

This tragedy happens coincident with a major exercise -- international exercise called Cobra Gold, and so there are resources not too far away, and very focused on this, and the question really becomes whether we can -- whether can gain entry, and at this point that hasn't happened.

Is the drug trade being interupted?

That could be part of the agenda. Cobra Gold has quite a history.

Other parts could include:

Testing Chinese defenses.

Co-opting local militaries.

"Pacification" of local populations.

Bio-war exercises.

Besides the "Multi-lateral readiness exercise" it clearly is...

"In New York, U.S. envoy to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad said Washington was "outraged" by the Myanmar government's delays in allowing relief workers and aid shipments."

At the risk of being labeled a nut case, I have serious suspicions that our Government may have caused the cyclone as I eluded to in my post on the Nature is Great thread.

I take the military s paper entitled, Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025 serious given the fact that as the saying goes, "they are 30 to 40 years ahead in technology than what the public knows".

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 9 2008 6:01 utc | 24

One Myanmarese perspective on the current situation:

 The devastation is incredible. I did some time in the army in some of these regions close to thirty years ago and the whole area is clumps of heavily forested villages connected by rice paddies which are at sea level.  I remember walking on rice bunds ( small terraces) and one small misstep would make you fall down and somehow collecting yourself from the mud and getting back on the bund ( about four feet high max) would be so difficult what with all the equipment and the fatigue. At night you could hear the crocodiles snap their jaws shut and there would be tons of bugs in the creeks which meander crazily all over the terrain.  

Cyclones don't happen to Burma and this one came in at 3 am while people were asleep. Very little could have been done even if they were awake since there is no high ground. ( fighting was done in small boats in scenes which look very much like the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware in the middle of the river.)

 Meantime the international criticism starts and there are plenty of stories of US planes not being allowed in , government dragging its foot etc. The reality is that help from Red Cross and neighboring countries has arrived  but many donors are insisting that their people be allowed into the actual disaster area. What they would do without knowledge of language or country i don't know, but this is an issue even in Indonesia after the tsunami. I recall listening to the Indonesian minister complain about how he had to deal with forty different donors each of whom had different rules and who required liaison officers and interpreters. He said that the aid should be given to the government who would be the funnel but donors refused.

Posted by: small coke | May 9 2008 6:05 utc | 25

crap, they let the link die, on that paper, luckily the web archive has it..., but for how long? I'd suggest copying it for the future in your files.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 9 2008 6:13 utc | 26

@Uncle #24
I wonder about those weather operations all the time, since reading that paper about military designs on weather a few years ago. (The link in 24 does not seem to work.)
Hard to believe that knowledge has advanced enough already to be able to precisely direct a cyclone. But who knows? Small minds full of hubris unleash such horrors.

It may be worth reiterating that Myanmar does have oil.
Did, do you know how much?

Posted by: small coke | May 9 2008 6:25 utc | 27

Weather manipulation research: guiding cyclones to a specific target

Defense Secretary William Cohen:

"Others (terrorists) are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanos, remotely, through the use of electro-magnetic waves...It's real, and that's why we have to intensify our efforts" (April 1997 DOD news briefing, University of Georgis, Conference on Terrorism)

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 9 2008 7:23 utc | 28

here is one of the most precise analysis of Myanmar's hydrocarbon reserves, of which there are plenty, but there is a lot more in Myanmar than just hydrocarbons. Right here is a very bitter and twisted assessment of some of Myanmar's larger mineral mining operations.
Britannica says this of Myanmar's mineral resources:

The modern development of Myanmar's rich mineral deposits began in the mid-1970s. Deposits of silver, lead, and zinc are worked in the northern Shan Plateau, tin and tungsten in Tenasserim, and barite from the Maymyo area. Copper mining at Monywa began in the early 1980s. Rubies and sapphires have been mined in the northern Shan Plateau since precolonial times. Jade is mined in the northern mountains. Oil and natural gas are produced for domestic consumption. Coal is found in the upper Chindwin valley.

It must really piss off the 'big' players in the west to know that someone flatly refuses to business with them no matter how much they offer. Such is the case with Myanmar.
However Myanmar has more regional trading ties than just China. This IHT article is about the oil and gas deals Myanmar has done with Thailand's state owned energy corporation. "State owned? That's communism!" I can imagine bush and cheney's backers would say.

Australia has been hanging around the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for years trying to get membership, yet when Johnny Howard was PM, Oz spent a lot of time haranguing ASEAN about Myanmar which was admitted as a member. Even after Australia, NZ and India were invited to the ASEAN plus 3 forum, Howard and his lackeys wasted valuable talking with the neighbours time, by acting as USuk sock puppet on Myanmar.

I would say that one of the reasons bellyaching about Myanmar from Rice and co has got out of proportion to the genuine need of the people caught up in this disaster is that USuk must be panicking that they will never get their sticky paws on those goodies they failed to purloin back in the days of the last empire, when Myanmar was a colony called Burma. Myanmar has been signing contracts with all its neighbours, eg Thailand, Vietnam, China. Good contracts that can withstand USuk gaming aimed at getting control of the resources.

Posted by: Debs is dead | May 9 2008 7:46 utc | 29

the NGO's take the opinion that their mission is more compelling and deserves a higher priority than that of the government as well as local aid groups in non-European countries. And this atttitude only kicks in when they operate in such countries. But not in Katrina or the ghettos of the West. And even though the NGO's claim to be an expression of the compassion, goodwill & magnanimity of the people in their home countries, they seem to have absolutely no interest or curiosity about how compassion, goodwill & magnanimity are expressed in these other countries. In fact, we've seen enough to conclude that NGO's do not see or expect these virtues in people in other countries or they just discount it as a lesser form.

maybe we should not be very surprised when other countries start to catch on.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 9 2008 8:30 utc | 30

The propaganda is now all about Myanmar not allowing the "helpers" in. But there are already many helpers on the ground.

There are thousands of aid workers inside Myanmar already. Save the Children has a staff of 500 there and has been able to provide 63,000 families with plastic sheeting, food, water purification tablets and other supplies. CARE has a staff of 500, Doctors Without Borders has staff members there, and the United Nations has 1,500 people in Myanmar.

And why wouldn't they let the U.S. military fly in goods?

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates noted that the American military had three or four ships ready to help, along with perhaps six C-130 cargo planes.

The United States has insisted that American relief experts be allowed to enter the country along American aid.

No need for spys they might say ...

If the U.S. really would want to help, why not just deliver the stuff and leave?

Posted by: b | May 9 2008 10:58 utc | 31

UN halts aid to Myanmar after junta seizes supplies

YANGON, Myanmar - A U.N. official says the World Food Program is suspending cyclone aid to Myanmar because its government seized supplies flown into the country.

He says the WFP has no choice but to suspend the shipments until the matter is resolved.

WFP spokesman Paul Risley said Friday that all "the food aid and equipment that we managed to get in has been confiscated." The shipment included 38 tons of high-energy biscuits.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 9 2008 12:30 utc | 32

3's 28, 32, thank you uncle $cam, #26 Debs/dead, thanks also. Mining, of which oil extraction is a subset and money at interest (especially for weapons) an anthropomorphization, is the> most important industry.

Our>pains are>gravy.

Posted by: plushtown | May 9 2008 14:46 utc | 33

sorry, #23 Debs/dead, also thanks for subject to her and b.

Posted by: plushtown | May 9 2008 14:50 utc | 34

re khalilzad,

a thursday post from matthew russell lee blogging the u.n. beat @ inner city press indicates the influence that the u.s. has holmes

UNITED NATIONS, May 8 -- A day after UN Humanitarian Coordinator John Holmes said that Myanmar was beginning to cooperate, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad said "we're outraged by the slowness of response by the government of Burma." Inner City Press asked Amb. Khalilzad if Holmes is being forceful enough. "We'd like to have Mr. Holmes tell member states what the situation is... to urge and press" Myanmar to accept help. Video here, from Minute 6:08.

This and more forceful private messages were clearly received by Mr. Holmes. On Thursday in a more tightly controlled briefing to the UN press corps, Holmes referred to the authorities in Myanmar as an "isolated and suspicious regime" and expressed "disappointment." It was contrary to his presentation on Wednesday, and one wondered if the change was due to watching BBC, or to messages received from the host country. To try to get this question answered, Inner City Press remained with hand raised throughout Holmes' Thursday press conference. But Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe did not allow the question. After Holmes left, she said "I cannot speak for Mr. Holmes." Inner City Press asked for Holmes' views in an email to Ms. Okabe, but the views were not provided. He will launch as a flash appeal, as the UN phrase has it, Friday afternoon. We'll be there.

that puts today's news (see uncle's #32) in a suspect context

Posted by: b real | May 9 2008 15:13 utc | 35

from a friday post @ inner city press

At UN, Myanmar Pledging Under U.S. Shadow, France Fades, Oil Companies Give A Little Back

UNITED NATIONS, May 9 -- In the debate about aid to Myanmar, six days after Cyclone Nargis hit, the United States was a major presence, while France seemingly dropped out of sight. After loudly calling for a humanitarian intervention under the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, at a pledging session Friday, France offered what appeared to be less than $1 million, compared for example to $10 million from Japan.

The U.S. came in at $3.25 million, and one his way out of the session, Inner City Press asked U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, why only a third of Japan's pledge? It's just a beginning, Amb. Khalilzad said. He referred to Myanmar's stated agreement to allow in a C-130 Hercules plane full of aid on Monday. Inner City Press asked for the U.S. view on Myanmar's seizure of two UN World Food Program planes on the tarmac in Yangon. I have nothing on that, Amb. Khalilzad said.

In fact, the head of the World Food Program, American Josette Sheeran who used to be with the State Department, has been during the cyclone crisis not at WFP's Rome headquarters, but in the United States. Given the tensions between the Bush Administration -- even, the Bush family -- and the Myanmar military government, one wonders if having an American, in America, heading the WFP at this time is helpful.
Follow the money footnote: While the UN on Friday sought pledges of aid to post-cyclone Myanmar, corporations making money in Myanmar moved in a different world. Unocal, now Chevron, has been sued for using slave labor in the country. The France-based Total has faced similar charges. Both companies have now announced $2 million contributions -- that the figures are identical might smack of collusion, even anti-trust problems. But the "corporate social responsibility" repercussions are more serious, and will be explored on this site. For now we note that France-based Total has pledge more than the French government. Developing.

Posted by: b real | May 10 2008 2:43 utc | 36

Recommended: China Hand on the aid kabuki

When one looks at the Western response in detail, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Western governments are exploiting the suffering to dramatize the weaknesses of the Burmese regime and undermine its legitimacy and rule—and that the Western media is enamored of the narrative that the United States can stand in judgment of the rest of the world on disaster relief *cough* Katrina and humanitarian intervention *cough* Iraq to the point of self-delusion.

That’s not a narrative that Myanmar’s Asian neighbors are particularly interested in.

One could draw the conclusion that, in the matter of Cyclone Nargis, self-serving outrage is a monopoly of the Western powers, but meaningful assistance is not.

Posted by: b | May 10 2008 5:20 utc | 37

VOA: UN to Resume Aid Flights Despite Seizure of Supplies by Burmese Authorities

VOA Is complete propagenda...

many boards, (even some that should know better) are posting comments like the following two:

Actually I am wondering whether there is a remote chance that using an assault force to fly in humanitarian supplies is feasible. When hundreds of thousands of lives are on the brink, plus the threat of exposing Thailand, Malaysia, and Bangladesh to an epidemic, I wonder if a joint military force should be sent in to do the job that the junta is not doing. Am I out in left field here?
I'm racking my brain for a historical example of a fascist regime that changes due to natural events.

and doing Washington's disinfo work for free...

Also, anyone know if The Irrawaddy is a reliable source of news about Burma?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 10 2008 5:24 utc | 38

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