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Arms Dealers the World Over Stand up and CHEER… 11 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, Iraq War, WAR!.
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       Zeynep Mendes, 10, works with her brother Zeydin, 14, right, look after a herd near the Turkish town of Cizre, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007, with Gabar Mount in the background, on the border with Iraq.

Zeynep Mendes, 10, works with her brother Zeydin, 14, right, look after a herd near the Turkish town of Cizre, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007, with Gabar Mount in the background, on the border with Iraq.  (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)


WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday that the Army needed to improve its ability to train foreign militaries and to prepare for other unconventional conflicts that it was likely to face in coming decades.

Speaking to a gathering of current and retired soldiers, Mr. Gates sketched out a vision for making the Army better at conducting wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, which he said would “remain the mainstay of the contemporary battlefield for some time.”

His message was in many ways a blunt challenge to the Army not to treat the current conflicts as anomalies and to retreat into the more familiar task of preparing for conventional combat, as it did after the Vietnam War.

Future conflicts, he said, “will be fundamentally political in nature and require the application of all elements of national power.”

“Success will be less a matter of imposing one’s will and more a function of shaping behavior of friends, adversaries, and most importantly, the people in between,” he said.

And those people in between? Such a vague phrase… Why, they would be arms dealers.  Later in the article, it mentions that he was addressing a group, the Association of the United States Army… but they leave a few things out.

Arms dealing, for one…


WASHINGTON — The rattle of assault weapons. Soldiers barking urgent commands. A massive array of firepower, from 70-ton Abrams tanks to missiles that nudge the edge of space.

Downtown Baghdad? No. This montage of modern-day warfare is crammed into a sprawling exhibit hall more than 6,000 miles and nine time zones from the Iraqi theater, about a mile from the White House and the U.S. Capitol.

The three-day exposition at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army is the easily the largest military land-power show in the United States and often the largest in the world, alternating with the Eurostory Exposition in Paris.

More than 500 exhibitors from across the globe — including U.S.-based giants such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, as well as emerging niche companies — consider this event a must to display their latest offerings in the tools of war.


…near the Turkish town of Cizre, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007, with Gabar Mount in the background, on the border with Iraq. The Turkish people in this border region are worried about incursions into Turkey by Kurdish rebel forces

This year’s event, which ends Wednesday, serves as a reminder that the United States remains at war on two fronts — in Iraq and Afghanistan — with sights and sounds of combat running continuously on video screens, giving the exhibit hall the flavor of a giant video arcade. Some exhibits were designed to resemble Middle East villages.

At the Warriors Corner, uniformed men and women stood on a small stage amid the exhibits to take turns recounting their experiences in battle. Several dozen spectators gathered around the stage Tuesday as 1st Sgt. Todd Jerger of Alpha Troop 3-71 Cavalry, part of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, from Fort Drum, N.Y., recalled engagements with the Taliban and al Qaida in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan.  [sell sell sell  — Mcat]

“I’d deploy to any theater the world with these guys,” Jerger said.

     Turkish military trucks carry tanks on a road connecting Turkey's southeastern town of Cizre to Sirnak.

Turkish military trucks carry tanks on a road connecting Turkey’s southeastern town of Cizre to Sirnak.  (AFP)

For the most part, the expo displayed a robust defense industry that’s long since rebounded from its decline after the Cold War, buoyed by record defense spending, which has increased by 40 percent since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


“We are a very diversified company,” said Blackwater President Gary Jackson of Moyock, N.C. “Everybody just wants to label us with one little label.”

Worldwide training programs are at the “heart” of the company’s portfolio, Jackson said. The company also is touting a refurbished ship that can be used for training, search-and-rescue operations and security, as well as an airship, the Polar 400, that could be deployed for border security, Jackson said.

The exhibit hall is a paradise for acronyms such as FCS (Boeing’s Future Combat Systems), LAV H (General Dynamics Light Armored Vehicle) and DVIDS (Digital Video & Imagery Distribution System). Literature and patriotic-themed slogans at display booths repeat a common goal: to help the American “warfighter” better perform his or her mission.  [support the troops, gag on the blood  — Mcat]


A PKK fighter takes position with his rifle during a training session in Northern Iraq, June 2007.  (AFP/File/Mustafa Ozer)

Some of the most eye-catching displays were giants of the battlefield such as General Dynamics’ M-1 Abrams tank and BAE’s Paladin, a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer with a 20-foot-long barrel that jutted toward the ceiling.  [size matters — Mcat]

Foreign companies also exhibit, in the hopes of expanding into the U.S. defense market. But they complain that it sometimes takes years to get space at the exhibit hall. John Grady, the Association of the U.S. Army’s spokesman, said that more than 90 exhibitors were on a waiting list to gain access to the internationally known expo.  [free trade… anyone?  hmm? — Mcat]

Also in the NYT seems they realised, at close on to 5 years, there is no littoral in Iraq.  Of course there isn’t one in Afghanistan either.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 — The Marine Corps is pressing to remove its forces from Iraq and to send marines instead to Afghanistan, to take over the leading role in combat there, according to senior military and Pentagon officials.

The idea by the Marine Corps commandant would effectively leave the Iraq war in the hands of the Army while giving the Marines a prominent new role in Afghanistan, under overall NATO command.

The suggestion was raised in a session last week convened by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and regional war-fighting commanders. While still under review, its supporters, including some in the Army, argue that a realignment could allow the Army and Marines each to operate more efficiently in sustaining troop levels for two wars that have put a strain on their forces.

As described by officials who had been briefed on the closed-door discussion, the idea represents the first tangible new thinking to emerge since the White House last month endorsed a plan to begin gradual troop withdrawals from Iraq, but also signals that American forces likely will be in Iraq for years to come.


Carrying light weapons, PKK guerillas walk in formation during military exercises in the mountains of northern Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region, in 2006.  (AFP/File/David Furst)

 Insert a laugh track.  Why not.


 I am offline for a few days,  back posting early next week, Monday or Tuesday. The site is closed to comments.



Light and frothy…. but still… 9 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.


just a thread……..   8)


It’s Debka… but posting it as I had linked earlier to another report of the training drills coming up:

TOPOFF 4 taking place between 15 and 20 October will set off fake radiological dispersal devices (RDD) or “dirty bombs” in Oregon and Arizona as well as Guam.

Vigilant Shield conducted by the Northern American Aerospace Defense Command will exercise its ability to mobilize resources for aerospace defense and control, maritime warning and coordination of air operations in a disaster area over North America.

TOPOFF 4, involving 15,000 participants from various US federal agencies as well as Australia, Canada and the UK, will combine with Vigilant Shield 2008, for a simulated war scenario with major domestic anti-terror drills.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Vigilant Shield will deploy a record number of US Air Force warplanes and spread over Canada and the Pacific island of Guam. It is described as resembling a wartime scenario more than an anti-terrorist drill.

And another tid bit from the article:

DEBKAfile’s US sources add that some critics of President George W. Bush’s Iraq and Iran policies are interpreting the two exercises as a dress rehearsal for possible retaliation for an American military strike against Iran. In other words, the US is preparing for Iran or Syria to respond by using radiological dispersal devices against American or allied targets, including Israel.

The insistence of American media that the Israeli air strike against Syria on Sept. 6 struck a Syrian-North Korean nuclear site attests to the suspicion gaining ground in Washington that Iran and/or Syria have acquired a stock of radioactive devices. In Israel, by contrast, there is no official reference to such a threat and no visible preparations.

British premier Gordon Brown, answering questions in parliament and from correspondents Monday, Oct. 8, refused to say for certain that the UK would not join a US attack on Iran.

and so, we dangle.


The Guardian:

Burma shuts down last communication links

· Satellite phones seized in information blackout
· Crackdown reflects worry over world opinion

Ian MacKinnon, south-east Asia correspondent
Tuesday October 9, 2007

Burma’s regime is targeting the last remaining communications links that brought images of the bloody crackdown on the recent pro-democracy protests to the outside world.

Exiled dissident groups in neighbouring Thailand say up to 10 satellite telephones and countless computers earlier smuggled into Burma have been seized, the last lines of contact after the government shut down the internet and blocked mobile and fixed-line telephones.

Officials from Burma’s foreign affairs ministry and home department security officers also visited a UN office in the Traders Hotel in downtown Rangoon late last week and demanded to see the organisation’s permits for its satellite phones.

Yesterday the British and US embassies in Rangoon, reachable by phone until late last week, were impossible to get through to from outside the country. British ambassador Mark Canning and US charge d’affaires Shari Villarosa were outspoken critics of the regime’s actions.

hmm think that means they said something when asked.


Ramzy Baroud in Asia Times on why Myanmar is not Iraq….

Strategically, Myanmar is as important to China as the Middle East is to the US. China cares more about the political stability of its neighbours than human rights and democracy; the US cares about such a nuisance insofar as it affects its ability to serve and maintain its own military and economic interests. Under no circumstances will China allow America a significant role in Myanmar, a country with which it shares a 2,000-kilometer border. The US, on the other hand, pays lip service to democracy in Myanmar, and its continued support of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) is aimed mainly at maintaining a foothold in Myanmar for a possible future role should tensions heat up with China.

Humanitarian imperialism has often proved more destructive than the injustices it supposedly addresses. But expect none of that in the case of Myanmar, because intervention does not serve the interests of the main influential parties – not the West’s, nor China’s, nor Russia’s. We may see a few sentimental meetings between Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of the generals, and perhaps a few gestures of goodwill by the latter, at the joint behest of China and the West.

But they will bring no sweeping reforms, no meaningful move towards democracy or respect for human rights. These can only be achieved by the people of Myanmar themselves, by their monks, political and civil society activists and ordinary citizens. If Iraq has been a lesson of any worth, it is that the Myanmar people are much better off without American bombers or British napalm.

True reforms and democracy can only come from within, from the closed fists of the determined dispossessed.

We might care to hear that last line… 


Seems appropriate… 8 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, The Battle for New Orleans.


FWIW… SEIU is declining to endorse in the primary… it does mean they will spend their money – they say – on issues til the system selects the nominee. And basically kicking it to the locals…

“We will continue to work on issues like health care, the war in Iraq and other issues while our locals decide whether they want to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary,” SEIU spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller said.

The 1.8-million member union winnowed the Democratic field to Clinton, Obama and Edwards after the three were the clear favorites at an SEIU forum in Washington in September. The union delayed an endorsement because of the deep divisions among its members, and delayed the decision again after hearing from the candidates anew in Chicago at the Change to Win labor federation conference.

Only one of the seven Change to Win unions has endorsed a candidate; the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners endorsed Edwards earlier this year.

The nation’s largest labor federation, the AFL-CIO, also is not immediately endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primary. Instead, the AFL-CIO is leaving its 55 member unions to choose for themselves.[snip]

The taxidermy elephant is not even noticing


They love to dribble this stuff out:

WASHINGTON – In one of the longest-held secrets of the Cold War, the U.S. Army explored the potential for using radioactive poisons to assassinate “important individuals” such as military or civilian leaders, according to newly declassified documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Approved at the highest levels of the Army in 1948, the effort was a well-hidden part of the military’s pursuit of a “new concept of warfare” using radioactive materials from atomic bombmaking to contaminate swaths of enemy land or to target military bases, factories or troop formations.

Military historians who have researched the broader radiological warfare program said in interviews that they had never before seen evidence that it included pursuit of an assassination weapon. Targeting public figures in such attacks is not unheard of; just last year an unknown assailant used a tiny amount of radioactive polonium-210 to kill Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London.  [snip]


A few years ago I was googling around on the assassination of Huey Long and found this old CIA doc that was declassified:


The techniques employed will vary according to whether the subject is unaware of his danger, aware but unguarded, or guarded. They will also be affected by whether or not the assassin is to be killed with the subject hereafter, assassinations in which the subject is unaware will be termed “simple”; those where the subject is aware but unguarded will be termed “chase”; those where the victim is guarded will be termed “guarded.”

If the assassin is to die with the subject, the act will be called “lost.” If the assassin is to escape, the adjective will be “safe.” It should be noted that no compromises should exist here. The assassin must not fall alive into enemy hands.

A further type division is caused by the need to conceal the fact that the subject was actually the victim of assassination, rather than an accident or natural causes. If such concealment is desirable the operation will be called “secret” ;; if concealment is immaterial, the act will be called “open”; while if the assassination requires publicity to be effective it will be termed “terroristic.”

Following these definitions, the assassination of Julius Caesar was safe, simple, and terroristic, while that of Huey Long was lost, guarded and open. Obviously, successful secret assassinations are not recorded as assassination at all. [Illeg] o f Thailand and Augustus Caesar may have been the victims of safe, guarded and secret assassination. Chase assassinations usually involve clandestine agents or members of criminal organizations. [snip]


On and on it goes.. where it ends…

A few months ago Burson Marsteller was supposed to be correcting its relationship (among many that are … messy) with Blackwater... Mark Penn of Hillary! being the global CEO of BM… and strategist and pollster to Mme Clinton 

Seems. not. quite.: 

By RICHARD LARDNER, Associated Press Writer Fri Oct 5, 5:17 PM ET

WASHINGTON – Public relations giant Burson-Marsteller has vast experience steering companies through tough times. But there’s a limit to how much it can help Blackwater USA,

a new client that’s been battered by negative publicity.

Ari Berman at The Nation earlier picked up on the AP story from Friday… and is working on the 3rd update, between corrections from B-M (not us! not doing that! used to do that! not now! nonononono) and Edwards using it as well.   

Anything for Edwards not to be asked about Fortress Hedge Fund which is foreclosing on homes in LA… even in New Orleans.  Heavens.  A core project of the core story…

My point is really not complicated. If you look at where I have spent my time, and what my life has been about, instead of isolating one thing in a short period of time, it is very clear what my life has been about. I have spent my life fighting for the kind of people I grew up with, blah blah blah blah for the poor blah blah blah, for the disenfranchised, and I will do it blah blah blah blah as long as I’m living. I will do it when I’m president,

and I will do it when I’m an ex-president.

hmm Think that is a first:  he promises to ‘do good’ as an EX-president. Too.  And later, yes, he is the son of a mill worker.

Somebody has got to break the scripts.  We get nothing.  Less than…


Sunday Evening Thread…………. 7 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast.

    Big Sur -

        Umbrella Tunnel – Big Sur – 2007 [Mona Loca]


Sunday………. 7 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, San Francisco.

     Filbert St - North Beach - San Francisco - photo:  Caroling

   Filbert Street – North Beach – San Francisco – 1957     [Carol Ing]

yup… 5 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.

     We’ve All Been Fucked, sign at a West Coast anti war rally

an image and a statement strong enough to hold up a thread, I think… 8)

Really and truly just a thread… 5 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in Iraq War.


I found this photo a long time ago and only noted “Occupied Iraq”… but I assume it is a gathering of women in some Shia sect… not that I know much about that…

anyway, an image to hold up a thread…


Just a thread… 4 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in Culture of Death, DC Politics, WAR!.


        Searching a school   [AFP/Alexander Nemenov]


At home, and that would be The Homeland:


Members of the U.S. National Guard work along a new border fence near the U.S.-Mexico border in Otay Mesa, San Diego July 21, 2006. The Senate on Wednesday approved funding to keep up to 6,000 National Guard troops deployed along the U.S. border with Mexico. [REUTERS/Jorge Duenes]

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Wednesday approved funding to keep up to 6,000 National Guard troops deployed along the U.S. border with Mexico.

The measure, approved on a voice vote, is an amendment to a nearly $460 billion defense appropriations bill for the fiscal year that began on Monday. The amendment added $794 million to fund the National Guard force at the border.

President George W. Bush ordered 6,000 National Guard troops to the border last May in a move to help the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency cut the flow of illegal immigrants crossing north.  [snip]


Wilfred just popped me this more than I would expect from ol’ Sully:

[T]here is no doubt – no doubt at all – that these tactics are torture and subject to prosecution as war crimes. We know this because the law is very clear when you don’t have war criminals like AEI’s John Yoo rewriting it to give one man unchecked power. We know this because the very same techniques – hypothermia, long-time standing, beating – and even the very same term “enhanced interrogation techniques” – “verschaerfte Vernehmung” in the original German – were once prosecuted by American forces as war crimes. The perpetrators were the Gestapo. The penalty was death. You can verify the history here.

We have war criminals in the White House. What are we going to do about it?


Oh, spare me… 3 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in Abortion Rights, SCOTUS, Sex / Reproductive Health, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.

    photo - WashTimes 

Catholic Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington accompanied Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. from the Cathedral of St. Matthew yesterday after the traditional Red Mass.  [Washington Times]

Archbishop Dolan alluded to such issues as abortion, euthanasia, cloning and human sexuality in his homily and asked the Holy Spirit to descend upon U.S. judicial leaders.

The wars?  New Orleans? – an historically Catholic city (among other incantations that rise from NO and SELA – South-East Louisiana)  hmm ?

silencio!  Of course I realise the SC is not charged with speaking on the wars nor on mending the Gulf Coast… not at all.  They are charged with MEDDLING in our lives…

“In a world where we’re tempted to act like animals instead of like God’s icon, in a culture where life itself can be treated as a commodity, seen as a means to an end, or as an inconvenience when tiny or infirm, in a society where rights are reduced to whatever we have the urge to do instead of what we ought to do, we need all the wisdom and fortitude God can give us,” the archbishop said.

Stuff it.


Nir Rosen has a remarkable article up in Boston Review… I just stumbled on it (thru Chris Floyd, whose site is back up again, he survived the hack)…. The Rosen piece is a long slog, but well worth it.

Mired in a woefully inadequate developmental approach, the UN still depends on the central Iraqi authorities as a counterpart, even though it cannot rely on them. The major problem is that aid delivery flows through the public distribution system (PDS). During Saddam’s regime every Iraqi had the right to receive rations under a system established during the sanctions period in the context of the Oil for Food program that began in 1995. Run by the Iraqi Ministry of Trade, the system was one of the most efficient institutions in the Iraqi state. Eighty percent of Iraqis depended on the PDS before the war. Ministry of Trade distribution warehouses throughout the country fed local branches. Each family had a card it redeemed at the neighborhood branch. The family was tied to that branch alone.

After the 2003 invasion, food rations became more important than ever, as jobs disappeared and salaries dwindled. When the UN’s Oil for Food program was interrupted, the void was filled first by the World Food Program and then by the new Iraqi government. The PDS’s infrastructure was so efficient, it was pressed into service elsewhere: when voter registration began in November 2004 for the January 2005 elections, the data was drawn from the PDS rolls. The quality of the information was remarkably accurate, and there was a 20 percent error rate in details such as date and place of birth, ninety percent of the people found themselves on the list. PDS cards thus acquired new political significance.

Meanwhile, as more of the country fell outside the protection of Iraqi security or multinational forces, newly displaced Iraqis without resources have needed the PDS system for rations more than ever. As roads throughout Iraq have become increasingly treacherous, however, PDS supply trucks have been often unable to reach their destined governorates and much of the country has been cut off. Administrative corruption has weakened the efficiency of the distribution system. Those supply convoys that do reach their destinations often carry only partial rations, with key items missing. The World Food Program, which, like many other international agencies sees its role as supporting the Iraqi government, is reluctant to voice concern over the crumbling PDS system; it would imply that the Iraqi state is failing.


A tidbit I just saw at Angry Arab:

You have to be an idiot (or a columnist in a Saudi newspaper) not to realize that all the rhetoric and leaks about Iran are part of what is called psychological operations. On AlArabiyya TV and on the New AlJazeera, the question is not when but what. Today, on Al-Arabiya TV the leading news discussion was on why the US moved from bombing the nuclear facilities to the bombing of Revolutionary Guards.


The senate vote today on the Iraq funding.  92 – 3… Overwhelming vote for Bush, for the war.  Overwhelming.  I count those not there as a YES vote.  A hearty one.

This is what Obama was doing today.  Speeches are so easy.  I just saw the slogan they slapped on his podium… The Strength to Lead.

Here is a line from the too easy and blandly seductive slobberation:

No law can give Congress a backbone if it refuses to stand up as the co-equal branch the Constitution made it.

They say anything.   He was also absent for the Lieberman kyl vote (McCain gave it a pass, as well).


Here is a bit of laugh – and, i suppose, a weep too… this is spam, the third I have received:

markofando | jacobroder99@mail.ru | tinyurl.com/2qul3c | IP:

Want to start your private office arms race right now?

I just got my own USB rocket launcher -) Awsome thing.

Plug into your computer and you got a remote controlled office missile launcher with 360 degrees horizontal and 45 degree vertival rotation with a range of more than 6 meters – which gives you a coverage of 113 square meters round your workplace.
You can get the gadget here: http://tinyurl.com/2qul3c

Check out the video they have on the page.


Marko Fando

Oct 3, 2:40 AM —


Intemittent Bystander posted some early morning updates, tag end of the last thread, to the Myanmar/Burma events…


The cat and I have both taken a dip, so to speak.  Will leave this up for a couple days, maybe an Open Thread on Friday, for the weekend…. have to lie low for a few days… apologies…


An iconic image… 1 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.


for an iconic struggle…

Spiegel manages to have a worthwhile round up article incorporating eyewitness accounts from between Friday and Monday…

The ruling junta’s security forces are attempting to seal off as many monasteries and temples as possible with barricades and barbed wire to prevent the monks from sparking further demonstrations. The strategy has already succeeded around Burma’s national symbol, the Shwedagon, a giant golden pagoda in downtown Yangon. It shimmers in the soft dawn rays of the tropical sun, silent and completely devoid of people. In the areas surrounding the Shwedagon, where the pagoda rises on a hill surrounded by a tangle of markets and monasteries, barricades block the access roads to Burma’s holiest site. Elite government troops are now positioned behind those barricades.

Curious passers-by find themselves facing the soldiers’ Kalashnikov automatic rifles. “Just keep going, for heaven’s sake, and don’t look them in the eye,” one local resident urges. “They shoot without warning.” The soldiers have their steel helmets pulled down deep over their faces, and are all wearing orange-red scarves tied around their shirt collars.

Convoys of four or five trucks at a time constantly patrol the temple district. Young recruits sit on the truck beds, pointing their rifles at people on the streets whenever they feel threatened.

and also provides background, linking events from ’88 to now..

Suu Kyi, who is respectfully called Daw Suu or Lady Suu by her supporters, had returned to Burma from abroad in 1988 to care for her mother, who was terminally ill. But as the daughter of national hero Aung San, she was soon at the head of the protest movement and, in 1990, led the National League for Democracy in free elections.

The NLD won more than 80 percent of the vote. But the junta, which had ordered the massacre in the streets of Yangon on Sep. 18, 1988, declared the results invalid. The junta’s current leader, Than Shwe, 74, hates Suu Kyi so much that no one is permitted to even mention her name in his presence.

As the demonstrators marched toward Suu Kyi’s house two weeks ago, it set off a panic in the new jungle capital, Naypyidaw. Would the monks liberate the Nobel Prize winner? On Sunday, Than Shwe ordered his family to pack their bags, and early in the week they took a charter flight to Bangkok. That was when the regime began the “extreme action” it had earlier threatened.

The regime brought in its elite troops from the borders. When the troops arrived in Yangon on Tuesday, the government imposed a curfew on the city. Any remaining hopes that the soldiers would shy away from shooting at monks were quickly dashed. After initial warning shots over the heads of the demonstrators, government troops began shooting directly into the crowds by Wednesday. The dead and injured even included a foreign victim, Japanese photographer Kenji Nagai, who was literally executed by a soldier as he lay on the ground


Asia Times, today:

There are unconfirmed reports that Than Shwe’s wife and one of his daughters, as well as his top business associate, Tay Za, flew out of the country on a Air Bagan flight to Singapore last week and have since traveled on to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Their apparent flight came against the backdrop of growing questions about troop loyalty due to orders to shoot at monks and the possibility that they could have broken rank and joined with the street protestors.

“If the current crackdown results in more bloodshed, a mutiny within the 400,000-strong armed forces is a distinct possibility,” said Win Min, a Myanmar analyst based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. “Family members of the grassroots soldiers are suffering from increasing food and fuel prices like the people who are demonstrating, though top level officers are getting amazingly rich.”

Indeed, there have already been notable instances of a breakdown in the chain of command, according to diplomats. On September 20, for still unclear reasons security forces positioned at the barricades blocking access to Aung San Suu Kyi’s house allowed marching monks to pass and pray in front of the house, an episode that was widely reported worldwide. The following day, however, another group of monks bidding to pass her compound was turned away by a larger number of security personnel.

On Saturday, Maung Aye personally took control of the operations in Yangon and he reportedly posted soldiers with sub-machine guns at the entrance to University Avenue where Suu Kyi is under house arrest.

It is unclear if the apparent divergent views between the SPDC’s top two generals have resulted in a full-blown rift. But there are signs that Than Shwe fears a possible internal military power play, similar to the one in 1992 that resulted in his rise to power. 

Front Page of the exile dissident Burmese group, Democratic Voice of Burma…

Mizzima News…  News briefs…

ko-htike.blogspot.com – posted today, October 1

Burmese Daze – last entry 9/22 from inside Burma, but a side bar of links and portals

The News Hour ran a segment from ITV, the voice over confirmed most all that has leaked out thru sites… hundreds if not thousands dead.  Full scale attacks on monks, some of whom have fled over the border.  When that transcript is up will post it…


A last snip from the Asia Times:

While there is a lull in the street protests at present, with both the military and protestors apparently regrouping and reorganizing, there is little doubt that a major movement to overthrow the military regime is in the making. While the monks were the leading force in recent weeks, former and current activists and student leaders are now reportedly organizing behind the scenes.

Senior monks and students recently formed a joint “strike committee” to lead future demonstrations.

“We are going for it, this is our time. We have to take this chance now as there may never be another one,”

a senior former student leader recently told Asia Times Online from hiding inside the country. “The students will support the monks’ peaceful protests,” he said.