Evidence Points to Burma's Nuclear Weapons 'Intent'
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Burma

Evidence Points to Burma's Nuclear Weapons 'Intent'


By SIMON ROUGHNEEN Friday, June 4, 2010


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BANGKOK—There are regional and international security implications arising out of fresh evidence that Burma is seeking nuclear weapons and is in breach of a UN arms embargo on North Korea.

Referencing the nuclear issue, US Sen. Jim Webb on Thursday canceled his scheduled trip to Burma.

Burmese soldiers carry flags as they march during the Armed Forces Day parade in Naypyidaw in March. (Photo: Reuters)
“It would be inappropriate and counter-productive for me to go at this time,” Webb told journalists at a Thursday press conference in Bangkok. While the substance of the nuclear issue and the potential breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1874 remain to be clarified, Webb said, “There is enough for now in these two allegations, which need to be resolved,” before he could reconsider going to Burma.

While allegations about a junta nuclear weapons program have emerged in the past, the latest reports are backed by documentation and photographs supplied by Burmese army defector Maj Sai Thein Win. A news documentary about the issue ran on Al-Jazeera today and is based on work carried out by the Democratic Voice of Burma news agency. Sai Thein Win had to flee Burma after superiors suspected that information about missile-building and uranium enrichment programs were being leaked. He says “that they really want to build a bomb, they want rockets and nuclear warheads.”

American nuclear scientist Robert Kelley, a former director in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the international nuclear watchdog, said he spent months examining the material supplied by Sai Thein Win and concluded that the projects outlined in the material are “useful only for weapons.”

In an overview published on the DVB website, Kelley said: “The total picture is very compelling. Burma is trying to build pieces of a nuclear program, specifically a nuclear reactor to make plutonium and a uranium enrichment program. Burma has a close partnership with North Korea.”

The seven-member UN panel monitoring the implementation of sanctions against North Korea said in a report last week that Pyongyang is involved in banned nuclear and ballistic activities in Iran, Syria and Burma.

After an early May visit to Burma, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs Kurt Campbell, said that the junta leadership had agree to abide by UN Security Council Resolution 1874, but that "recent developments" called into question its commitment. He said he sought the junta's agreement to "a transparent process to assure the international community that Burma is abiding by its international commitments."

"Without such a process, the United States maintains the right to take independent action within the relevant frameworks established by the international community," he said.

Whether or not the Burmese regime has the know-how to actually realize its apparent nuclear ambitions is another issue. According to Kelley, “Nothing we have seen suggests Burma will be successful with the materials and component we have seen.”

Speaking to Al-Jazeera, other nuclear experts such as John Isaacs, who is executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said that there is not yet “actual proof” of what the regime is trying to do.

However, the documentation assessed by Kelley suggest intent on the part of the junta. The regime has not signed the IAEA's Additional Protocol, meaning that the agency has not power to set up an inspection of Burma's nuclear facilities under the existing mechanism known as the Small Quantities Protocol.

The hour-long Al-Jazeera/DVB report gave details of a nationwide labyrinth of underground tunnels, believed to be shelters for the military in the event of an attack from outside or demonstrations at home. The total cost of the tunnels, built in collaboration with North Korean military advisers, is estimated in the range of US $3 billion.



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COMMENTS (8)
 
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plan B Wrote:
12/06/2010
"Let us all unite and say no to the junta."

If anything anyone should learn from is the change will have to come from within. The circling of the wagon induced by the west policy must stop immediately.

Then supporting the citizenry against the advice of charlatans like Turnell must begin and sustained.

History has proven that the above 2 factors will bring about tangible change from within, be it SPDC or a revolution like the one against Marcoses and Chiang in Taiwan, by the people.

Saying no to the junta sounds very good. What has that done for the plight of the citizenry?

Weaken to a state of mere survival, saying no or yes = whatever.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
11/06/2010
PB Publico Wrote: 07/06/2010
1. "I am saddened by what Myo Chit wrote. Tribal warfares, we better leave them in the past, as he said it was a struggle, and fair and square. Please leave it in the history that we have not lived in.

We and our children and children's children live HERE and NOW. There is a Bhama saying, "Loving kindness is security for all." (metta chum hma lon).

We may quarrel if we must, but not with killer weapons. Even in a blood-related family, the quarrels are there. But not in the manner of "Let live and let die' but we must let live, not die." Thank you.

2."Let us have good will among our selves when we have our common enemy, the junta.
Let us all unite and say no to the junta."

YES and NO. YES to making the junta relinquish state power but it is not so simple: a transition period is absolutely necessary. NO to the junta being our common enemy; it's a structural problem.

plan B Wrote:
11/06/2010
What do you expect from Simon Roughneen. He has been crying wolf at every turn of event that might favor proper engagement. He must be livid now to see Webb calling for a "Special Envoy" to Myanmar. Now we will hear the really grief.

Simon says Myanmar is going nuclear and everyone here agrees. This is not a game, Simon.

Don't say anything unless you are absolutely sure.

Intent is not Possibility.

Even manning any peaceful nuclear facility require expertise that only other country like DPRK and Russia can offer.

Weapons?

Only fools will believe the capability exist without DPRK taking over the whole Tatmadaw.
Remember Than Shwe is still quintessentially Burmese.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
08/06/2010
1.PB Publico Wrote: 04/06/2010
"I for one have never believed the junta is capable of nuclear armaments, for one thing they have no material resource - they may buy it. For another, there is no technical capability of such a scheme.
"RESPONSE:We have already stated the case!Thanks for the compliment. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
2.Myo Chit wrote:

Even an extremely corrupt and hated dictator recognizes the need for nuclear weapons to eliminate the minorities like Sai Thein Win and to project the power of the Maha Bhama people beyond our present borders.
Burma was a place where Bhama, Yakines, Mons and Shans struggled for superiority.The Bhamas won. The losers, Yakines, Mons and Shans must either shed their identity forever or go to hell. The same applies to Kachin,Kayah,Kayin, Chin and other mere tribes that live on the edges of the golden land.

"COMMENT:this is a most unintelligent mindset,always trying to drive the wedge between our people.

PB Publico Wrote:
07/06/2010
I am saddened by what Myo Chit wrote. Tribal warfares, we better leave them in the past, as he said it was a struggle, and fair and square. Please leave it in the history that we have not lived in.
We and our children and children's children live HERE and NOW. There is a Bhama saying, "Loving kindness is security for all." (metta chum hma lon).
We may quarrel if we must, but not with killer weapons. Even in a blood-related family, the quarrels are there. But not in the manner of "Let live and let die' but we must let live, not die.
Let us have good will among our selves when we have our commom enemy, the junta.
Let us all unite and say no to the junta.

Myo Chit Wrote:
05/06/2010
Even an extremely corrupt and hated dictator recognizes the need for nuclear weapons to eliminate the minorities like Sai Thein Win and to project the power of the Maha Bhama people beyond our present borders.
Burma was a place where Bhama, Yakines, Mons and Shans struggled for superiority. The Bhamas won. The losers, Yakines, Mons and Shans must either shed their identity forever or go to hell. The same applies to Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin and other mere tribes that live on the edges of the golden land.

Sai Lin Wrote:
05/06/2010
The document and information brought by Sai Thein Win show how Snr General Than Shwe's ambition is bigger than what US, EU and ASEAN know about the Burmese military regime.
Receiving nuclear technology and machinery parts from cash trap North Korea is easier than eating bananas.
North Korea desperately wants money and food from the Burmese military regime in return. The regime is threatening regional stability and international security. We must remove this regime from power. I hope Thai politicians and the Army chief will fully understand about the situation with Burma. The Thai Government needs to give more room to Burmese opposition groups for its own sake.
I hope there is another Sai Thein Win in the Burmese Army. We always open our arms for you my brother.

PB Publico Wrote:
04/06/2010
I for one have never believed the junta is capable of nuclear armaments, for one thing they have no material resource - they may buy it. For another, there is no technical capability of such a scheme. Those scientists working for the junta can be cheats to fade out when found out.
But now I am not sure. Their target is not China or India. Could be Thailand against which they have some grudges, and some fear of massing anti-junta forces and attacking from bases in Thai territory.
But the more likely tatget is Yangon and lower Burma the people of which part are all in opposition to them. And Mandalay and Monywa too. In fact all the people of Burma are their enemies, however unarmed and helples. They have the vengeance to settle.
So, people of the civilized world must help the Burmese people in their struggle for survival. Leave economic progress out for the time being.

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