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ျပည္သူေတြဆီမွာ လြတ္လပ္မႈနဲ႔ တန္းတူညီမွ်မႈ အရင္ဆံုး ရွိေနမွ ဒီမိုိကေရစီ စံႏႈန္းရွိတာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။

Sen. Webb Hands Junta Another Diplomatic Coup; Scores US Visa for Senior General

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Sen. Webb Hands Junta Another Diplomatic Coup; Scores US Visa for Senior General

According to Reuters, Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win “has arrived in New York after being granted permission to visit the Burmese embassy in Washington, a US official said yesterday.” The unnamed source quoted by Reuters stated that Nyan Win “made a side trip” to the embassy in Washington, but did not meet with any members of the US government.”

The Burmese embassy has so far refused to comment but Burma-watchers in Washington believe he is still there.

All senior members of Burma’s military junta are banned from visiting Washington except for very specific international meetings. Nayan Win would certainly fall into the category of a senior official. The visa ban went into effect under President Clinton, who implemented the restrictions in October 1996 against the so-called Law and Order Restoration Council — an Orwellian term the junta decided to drop in favor of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1997.

On October 1, 2007, President Bush announced that because of ongoing repression he was adding more than three dozen military officials, political leaders of the Union Solidarity Development Association (the junta’s paramilitary thugs), and their families to the visa-ban list.

Granting a waiver for Nyan Win to visit Washington is a diplomatic coup for a regime that is continuing, as this is being written, a military offensive against ethnic groups that has already resulted in more than one million internally displaced refugees and tens of thousands more pouring over the border into China, Thailand, India and Bangladesh; more than 3,200 villages burned, and most heinous — the use of rape as an instrument of war against women. The regime is actively engaged in war crimes. This is in addition to the oppression of Burma’s democratic freedom fighters and the everyday killings and murders that are standard regime fare. If a Burmese official of comparable rank has visited Washington in the last 20 years, no one I talked to can remember it.

Clearly, Nyan Win is a guy that has blood on his hands. He is a Major General in the Burmese Army. He has participated in meetings where junta plans were discussed and approved — including those dealing with suppression of democratic rights and the plotting of violence against ethnic groups the regime considers hostile. He designed the diplomatic blueprint for convincing the international community to swallow the regime’s campaign of terror. He is Burma’s von Ribbentrop.

So why, after more than a decade of policy rooted in a Democratic administration and continued and expanded under a Republican administration has State allowed Nyan Win to visit? Who specifically allowed the visit during such a sensitive time — a decision that could only have been made by a top State Department official? Was the NSC informed? Has Nyan Win been removed from the waiver list? What is he doing here and with whom is he meeting?

Look to Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) for the answer to those questions.

On September 15 I reported on a closed-door meeting between Senator Webb and Secretary Clinton. Burma watchers raised eyebrows and speculated that Webb was making a last-ditch attempt at influencing the Burma policy review that State Department officials say should be released tomorrow by Clinton in New York City. Webb has been in the forefront of pressing the administration to engage with the regime and drop U.S. sanctions as part of a bizarre effort to check Chinese influence in that shattered country. Sources tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Webb enlisted Clinton’s help in obtaining a visa for Nyan Win during their meeting last week.

The carefully worded State disclaimer that Nyan Win “did not meet with any government official,” would not apply to Webb. In fact, Nyan Win had barely dropped his bags at the Burmese embassy when Webb was banging on the door to meet over the weekend. Webb spent considerable time with Nyan Win during his August tour of Burma — a visit that will be most remembered for the blunt criticism it prompted from those fighting for freedom in Burma.

Webb has now handed the junta yet another diplomatic victory and delivered a blow to that country’s democratic opposition by facilitating Nyan Win’s trip to Washington. With the regime’s horrific record of abuse and military cooperation with North Korea that could very well involve missile and nuclear proliferation–what is driving Webb to provide moral and political support to the vicious thugs running Burma? Why his highhanded treatment of a democracy movement that continues a battle that should be an inspiration for everyone living in freedom?

One final thought: the Obama administration is issuing visas for members of the Burmese junta while revoking visas for members of the democratic government in Honduras. I challenge any Democrat to defend that double standard.

Update: Let the record show that we scooped the Washington Post on this story by a full seven minutes, though the Post does add one detail I did not get — Nyan Win visited the White House over the weekend. I should have just assumed as much.

Posted by Michael Goldfarb on September 22, 2009 05:20 PM | Permalink

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 23, 2009 at 12:52 am

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