Major Hla Win, 42, chief of military intelligence with the Burmese army in Rangoon's northern region, with his 17 year old son fled to Thailand after refusing orders to attack Buddhist monks in recent anti-junta protests. He was probably helped by Human Rights Watch who released a statement in Hong Kong .."They [the demonstrators] were very peaceful. Later when I heard they were shot and killed and the armed forces used tear gas, I was really upset and I thought the army should stand for their own people."
He now intends to apply for political asylum in Norway, where many Burmese opposition supporters live in exile. "I am a Buddhist," he told the Norwegian broadcaster TV2 Norway after his escape. "I don't want to kill monks."
The European Union is tightening sanctions imposed in 1996 on Burma and have agreed a broader visa ban for members of the military junta, a wider ban on investment, and an expanded ban on imports of metals, timber and gemstones. There will be a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers on october 16th.
These changes don't affect European oil and gas companies operating there, the biggest of which is France's Total SA - arguing Jesuitically that their withdrawal will let in the Chinese.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, is reported by the Associated Press on Tuesday that Total SA would not be spared in the most recent proposals for EU sanctions against the military regime. "If there are sanctions," he said, "Total will not be exonerated -- it's not possible."
There is a statement on the Total Website by Jean-François Lassalle,
Vice-President Public Affairs,Total Exploration & Production, about their presence in Myanmar / Burma
"To those who ask us to leave the country, we reply that far from solving Myanmar's problems, a forced withdrawal would only lead to our replacement by other operators probably less committed to the ethical principles guiding all our initiatives. "