covering burma and southeast asia
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
LETTER

Letters to the Editor — November, 2010


By THE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, November 30, 2010


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Thursday, November 30, 2010

ProPublica Doco—A Hatchet Job 

Dear Editor,

Regarding recent articles concerning North Korean nuclear technology, Burma's alleged nuclear program and the recent ProPublica documentary dismissing as “inconclusive” the views expressed by DVB and Dr. Robert E. Kelley.

Related articles:Nuclear Confusion”;  "Nuclear Matter"; I was interviewed for the ProPublica documentary as well. They didn't use
any of the footage, but they did show an image of my first article about
the SPDC's nuclear program, from 2006.

I believe the reason they didn't use my footage is that they changed the
story, from a detailed investigation of the available intelligence about
the program, to a systematic attempt to discredit Bob Kelley and Sai Thein
Win. I suspect this was done for a number reasons. They didn't want to
publish Dictator Watch's claims, even our hard documentation - the Russia
student lists and the Kyaukkyi map and layout, because I was not willing
to reveal my sources. Similarly, they didn't use their own sources. The
only source they used was Sai Thein Win, because he was identified and on
record.

Another part is that it was easier. It would have been tricky to
consolidate Sai Thein Win's intelligence, Dictator Watch's, and the info
from their own sources. So, Pulitzer winning history or not, ProPublica
did what many journalists do. They opted for something that was more
straightforward, even if it was both superficial and misleading.

Finally, PBS is big American media. The documentary featured Hillary
Clinton, Jim Webb, and others. They couldn't have used them if they
concentrated on a detailed investigation of the SPDC's program - there
wouldn't have been enough time. So, the story changed…

The ProPublica journalist even took the CIA at its word. The hypocrisy is
breathtaking. They criticized NED (DVB's funder) for supposedly being a
CIA successor, while giving credence to the Agency's Burma claim that the
program is not for weapons (no actual source at the Agency is named, by
the way), not to mention that it was U.S. intel which lied for President
Bush. If the CIA is so convinced that the SPDC does not have a nuclear
weapons program, why did the U.S. follow the Kang Nam 1, block the North
Korean flight from Burma to Iran, and why won't it publish the JADE Act
report?

The documentary was designed to appear objective, but it was really
nothing more than a hatchet job.

Roland Watson
Dictator Watch
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Suu Kyi: A Hero of Our Time

What's noteworthy about the 6 issues that Aung San Suu Kyi should deal with is that they're all political in nature.

Beyond embracing democratic reforms, Burma needs to jump start its economy—which needless to say, is a total disaster. The military junta's obsession with staying in power at all costs has all but destroyed the economy—and just about everything else as well (except the hope that Aung San Suu Kyi has provided).

The military's obsession with staying in power has blinded them to the rapid economic growth among their South Asian neighbors—along with that of China. When democratic reforms take hold in Burma, the next step is to improve its economy. The Burmese people deserve nothing less.

Despite the injustice that this brave and courageous woman has suffered for the past 20 years, her tireless pursuit of democracy for Burma is nothing short of amazing.

In an age where merely being famous makes you a hero, Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the few genuine heroes of our time—and perhaps of all time.
 
Stephen V.



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