Burma - Another Darfur? Ask Weiner and Larmett in Honolulu Star-Bulletin Op-Ed

WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The former Public Affairs Director for the White House Office of National Drug Policy under President Clinton , Robert Weiner , and a former foreign affairs legislative assistant to Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), in an op-ed in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, claim Burma is becoming another Darfur and the U.S. is ignoring it. "Despite world leading methamphetamine distribution, 1-1/2 million refugees, and a military junta jailing the country's elected political leaders, the U.S. Burma policy is only occasional white papers and weak sanctions," assert Weiner and Larmett in the piece, "Burma-Another Darfur?"

Weiner and Larmett point out, "In a little noticed State Department report in March, Burma was re-branded from the center of the 'Golden Triangle' to the 'Ice Triangle', with drug money funding the junta. Hawaii, an entry point for Asian methamphetamine, has become the "'Ice Capital' of the nation." "Ice" is crystal methamphetamine.

Burma produces over a billion methamphetamine pills each year for distribution, not just to its neighbors in Asia, but also to the United States -- largely in and through Hawaii and California. "The drug's human toll is devastating," the authors say, citing DEA, "on the Hawaiian economy and family structure, increased street violence and property crimes."

Weiner and Larmett point out that "Burma has one of the most repressive governments in the world with forced labor for army units, rape of women and girls, and military conscription of boys, now 70,000+ (35-45% ages 11-14). Mortality rates in Eastern Burma are at the levels of the worst conflict zones in Africa . Brutal treatment by the Burmese military have caused over 500,000 internally displaced and homeless civilians whose villages have been destroyed and 1-1/2 million refugees."

Yet "The policy of the administration toward Burma is complacency. President Bush and Congress must speak and act against the human rights violations, bloodletting, and drug-funded junta in Burma before it becomes another Darfur. It is clearly in U.S. national security interest to take action."


Bob Weiner or John Larmett

301-283-0821 or 202-329-1700

SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates