Could Mean Exit From Iraq For Embattled Mercenary Firm; Radio's Limbaugh Charges "Phony Monks" Stirring Up Trouble
On the heels of it's CEO, Erik Prince, testifying before Congress yesterday, the Myanmar Junta Leader, of the country formerly known as Burma (Ed. Note: The term Burma, following Michael Stickings of The Reaction lead, will be used by The Garlic), Senior General Than Shwe announced today that he has contracted with Blackwater USA for "internal security".
"I don't know what the Iraqi's problems are," Shwe was overheard saying, following the announcement, "We certainly don't mind if these Blackwater soldiers take out a few civilians... In fact, I am expecting such results."
The pro-democracy protest, with 10,000+ demonstrators led by the country's Buddhist Monks that began last month, has been met with brutal violence by armed forces, including the killing, caught on television, of a Japanese journalist.
In the major city of Rangoon, shots have been fired into crowds and monks beaten. Reports coming from Burma, where the military junta has shut down the internet and have curfews in place, say that thousands have been murdered, including monks, whose bodies have been dumped in the jungles.
Led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for much of the past 12-years, Burmese citizens have called on the military junta to step down, following the 1990 election, the first in nearly 30-years, that elevated the pro-democracy party of Suu Kyi to a majority position, but then was annulled by the military rulers.
Shwe junta forces are continuing their repression, even at the United Nations attempts to intervene.
Blackwater USA, coming under fire in both Iraq and the United States, issued a brief statement, indicating they were pleased to serve the Government of Myanmar and look forward to the work of bringing order to the country.
A spokesperson for Blackwater refused to answer questions if the new Burma contract meant Blackwater would be exiting Iraq.
One element of the contract was leaked to the media, showing that the Myanmar Government will have a Blackwater liaison, who will be responsible for investigating complaints and writing official reports on the results of any queries.
When asked about Blackwater now working for Burma, Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend referred questions about Blackwater to the State Department, but added "I didn't know there was a Burma before there was a Myanmar."
And in a related matter, radio talkshow host Rush Limbaugh, already embroiled in a heated dust-up over criticizing U.S. soldiers opposed to the Bush Grindhouse's Iraq policy, charged today that much of the unrest in Burma was being lead by "phony monks".
"These guys," chortled the rotund, drug-taking Limbaugh, "shave their heads, put on orange clothes and start prancing around and we're all supposed to think this is something sacrosanct ... Hogwash! ... Seeing some of the news footage on this, I think I recognize some of these phony monks ... They hit me up at the airport recently, asking for money, or if I wanted to take a free personality test ... Yeah, right ... I got a personality test for them ..."
When a caller later in the hour chastised Limbaugh for making fun of the Burmese Monks, Limbaugh berated the caller, saying he was only speaking about one, particular phony monk.
More as this story develops
There's a bevy of good info on-line on what's going on in Burma, and we want to take the opportunity today to point out Joe Gandelman's The Moderate Voice and their tremendous Burma posts - and in particular, the Burma posts of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Saxophonist Wayne Shorter wrote a tribute song to Aung San Suu Kyi