Friday, June 06, 2008

Junta Complains About Media Coverage As It Continues Denying Burmese Aid

All while the junta continues complaining about how the media is portraying the junta's actions as nothing less than the callous disregard for human life that it is, the US military is still awaiting permission to provide helicopter relief flights to remote areas of the country.
The U.S. military, meanwhile, said it has received no response to an offer of 22 helicopters that could ferry relief to most survivors within three days.

Along with its stepped up rhetoric, Myanmar's government appeared to be clamping down on criticism at home. A popular comedian was detained after returning from a trip to help disaster survivors and saying that government aid was not reaching some victims.

In addition, there were unconfirmed reports Friday in Yangon that at least a dozen people involved in filming cyclone victims in the Irrawaddy delta had been arrested.

The state-run New Light of Myanmar, considered a mouthpiece for the junta, accused "self-seekers and unscrupulous elements" of working in collusion with foreigners to shoot video films featuring made-up stories in the storm-ravaged areas in the delta.

"Those foreign news agencies are issuing such groundless news stories with the intention of tarnishing the image of Myanmar and misleading the international community into believing that cyclone victims do not receive any assistance," the report said.

The military regime has been criticized by international agencies for holding up shipments of food, water and temporary shelter supplies to some 1 million desperate survivors of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated the country more than a month ago. The cyclone, which struck May 2-3, killed 78,000 and left an additional 56,000 missing, the government said.

U.S. Navy ships laden with helicopters and emergency supplies sailed away from the coast of Myanmar on Thursday after being ignored by the junta for three weeks, but the American offer to help still stands, said Lt. Gen. John Goodman, commander of Marine Forces Pacific and head of the U.S. relief operation for Myanmar.
The US Navy could provide more airlift capability in faster time than any other group available to the junta, and has ignored it for more than three weeks. How many thousands have died and needlessly suffered because the junta refuses assistance from the US.

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