Following the March 24 visit of Singapore's Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to Rangoon, a Singapore spokesperson proclaimed, "Singapore and Myanmar should continue to explore areas where they can complement each other." As both countries continue to celebrate their "complementary" relationship, the international community must take note of the powerful support this relationship provides both to Burma’s illegitimate regime and to its booming billion dollar drug trade.
THE Burmese military dictatorship - known by the acronym slorc for State Law and Order Restoration Council until it changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council (spdc) last November - depends on the resources of Burma's drug barons for its financial survival. Since it seized power in 1988, opium production has doubled, equaling all legal exports and making the country the world's biggest heroin supplier. Burma now supplies the US with 60 percent of its heroin imports and has recently become a major regional producer of methamphetamines.
With 50 percent of the economy unaccounted for, drug traffickers, businessmen and government officials are able to integrate spectacular profits throughout Burma’s permanent economy.Both the Burmese generals and drug lords have been able to take advantage of Singapore's liberal banking laws and money laundering opportunities. In 1991, for eaxample, the slorc laundered $400 million through a Singapore bank which it used as a down payment for Chinese arms. Despite the large sum, Burma's foreign exchange reserves registered no change either before or after the sale. With no laws to prevent money laundering, Singapore is widely reported to be a financial haven for Burma's elite, including its two most notorious traffickers, Lo Hsing Han and Khun Sa (also known by his Chinese name Chang Qifu).
WITH massive financial ties to Singapore, Lo Hsing Han is now one of Burma’s top investors. He, along with Khun Sa, the former "king of opium," is a major player in the Burmese economy.Singapore has been more than willing to share its expertise in intelligence with its Burmese counterparts. The Singapore-Myanmar Ministerial-Level Work Committee was set up in 1993 in Rangoon to "forge mutual benefits in investment, trade and economic sectors." The committee includes intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, other top Burmese ministers, and high-level Singaporean officials. At the December 23 meeting, Khin Nyunt urged his ministers to give priority to projects arranged by the Singaporean Government. "Pilot projects are being implemented to transfer know how to Myanmar," said Khin Nyunt in his address.Singaporean companies have also helped suppress dissent in Burma by supplying the military with arms to use against its own people.
The first shipment of guns and ammunition was delivered on October 6, 1988. Throughout the month, hundreds of boxes of mortars, ammunition, and other supplies marked "Allied Ordnance, Singapore" were unloaded from vessels in Rangoon. Allied Ordnance is a subsidiary of Chartered Industries of Singapore, the arms branch of Singapore Technologies - the same government-owned company which built the cyber-war center.
These shipments from Singapore arrived only weeks after the 1988 military takeover in Rangoon, in which the new leaders of the SLORC massacred hundreds of peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrators in the street. These killings followed another wave of government massacres earlier that summer, when longtime dictator Ne Win struggled to keep power in the face of nationwide strikes and demonstrations for democracy. He eventually stepped down but, operating behind the scenes, installed the puppet SLORC. As the killings continued, thousands of civilians fled the country fearing for their lives. When numerous countries responded by suspending aid and Burma’s traditional suppliers cut shipments, the SLORC became desperate. Singapore was the first country to come to its rescue.
Singapore companies have continued to supply Burma's military, sometimes acting as middlemen for arms from other countries. In 1989, Israel and Belgium delivered grenade launchers and anti-tank guns via Singapore. In 1992, Singapore violated the European Commission arms embargo on the Burmese regime by acting as a broker and arranging for a $1.5 million shipment of mortars from Portugal. LAST November, Singapore deployed its diplomatic arsenal to defend Rangoon at the UN. Singaporean UN representatives made an effort to water down the General Assembly resolution which castigated the Burmese government for its harsh treatment of pro-democracy activists, widespread human rights violations, and nullification of free and fair elections that had voted it out of power. Read the whole thing here....India has promised further military aid to Burma 's
ruling junta and asked for increased cooperation in fighting Indian insurgent groups operating along its border with Burma .The issues were raised during a three-day visit to Burma 's administrative capital Naypyidaw by a delegation led by India 's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who met Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye.
President Suharto of Indonesia promised closer cooperation between his country and Burma in several areas, including aviation, forestry, telecommunications and fisheries. Indons too...One Burmese general reportedly said, "The bodies can be counted in several thousand."