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04RANGOON1572 2004-12-14 04:59:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Rangoon
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1. (SBU) Congress has appropriated and earmarked millions of
dollars to support Burma's pro-democracy movement and those
Burmese seeking refuge from the junta's tyranny. While a
portion of this funding appropriately supports thousands of
Burmese who have fled their country, direct support for the
pro-democracy movement inside Burma, despite the dire need,
is much smaller in scale.

2. (S/NF) As detailed refs A and B, Embassy Rangoon has
recently received two requests for USG financial assistance
from pro-democracy leaders. The first is from an association
of ten pro-democracy political parties, the United
Nationalities Alliance (UNA). The UNA's member parties, most
of whom have been de-registered by the regime, represent
ethnic minority groups. The parties are well aware that such
assistance would not have the sanction of the SPDC. The
second request came indirectly from U Tin Oo, the Vice
Chairman of the National League for Democracy who has been
imprisoned or under house arrest since May 2003, via his
wife. The request is to rent a house for $300 per month, as
the vacant rental property provides the only source of money
for food and utilities for U Tin Oo and his family. The NLD,
as a party, has not requested direct USG financial assistance.

3. (S/NF) Post seeks the views of the Department and others
regarding the possibility of undertaking a small-scale,
stealthy program of financial assistance directly to
pro-democracy leaders inside Burma who have asked for our
support. Such assistance would best be aimed at helping
sustain the parties' organizational and leadership

4. (S/NF) COMMENT: $100,000 would be an adequate initial
sum for the short- to mid-term sustenance of the
pro-democracy leadership as per the two requests described
reftels. Post suggests that a tailor-made, Post-administered
contract or purchase agreement would be the preferred
delivery mechanism. For example, the leadership of
participating political parties could provide a nominal
product, such as a written account of its experiences in the
1990 election, in exchange for a relatively modest sum that
could be used to help sustain the party. Further, U Tin Oo's
vacant rental property could be used, nominally, to store
materials for our "Global English" Program. End Comment.