Burmese Junta, Now Impounding Aid

Spencer Ackerman says it well, “The Burmese Junta does what juntas everywhere do…using the catastrophe that killed perhaps as many as 100,000 people — a death toll too large to be comprehensible — as a shakedown opportunity.” Tragic, but true. Consider this:

“Burma’s ruling military junta today impounded United Nations food shipments bound for the storm-ravaged Irrawaddy Delta, and U.N. officials said they would suspend further aid to the country in response.

Two planes carrying about 76,000 pounds of high-energy biscuits landed in Rangoon today, but were forced to offload into a government-controlled warehouse, said Paul Risley, a spokesman for the U.N.’s World Food Program in Bangkok. Risley said UN officials were told that only Burma’s minister for social welfare could release the aid for distribution.

It gets worse, BBC just reported that the World Food Program has suspended all new shipments to Burma until the aid is freed from impound. Like I said yesterday, this is criminal behavior. For a view closer to the ground, check out Burmese Bloggers Without Borders.