Reporters on the Job

Reinhard Krause/Reuters
Monks gathered at a monastery in Aba, Tibet, Wednesday for the Monlam or Great Prayer Festival.

Climate of Fear: While in Burma (Myanmar) reporting today's story about the government's plans to hold elections, correspondent Danna Harman says fear kept anyone from being identified by name. "Talking to the foreign press, for example, can be cause for arrest here. No one is even sure what might prompt an arrest. During the September protests, shopkeepers photographed offering water to the marching monks were hauled in by military intelligence," she says.

Informants are everywhere, she says. Neighbors snitch on neighbors, workers rat on colleagues, monks squeal on fellow monks.

"I love my mother, so I am scared," a young Rangoon businessman who helped organize the September protests told Danna as they sat in a crowded tea shop in Rangoon. He was referring to the military junta's practice of harassing family members of its opponents.

"As we spoke," says Danna. "the man's eyes darted nervously to the other customers and nodded at a man sitting alone and spitting red beetle juice onto the pavement a few feet away. 'We are ruled through fear,' he told me before getting up and dashing off. He suspected the spitting man to be a spy."

But was he?

"The spitting man suddenly looked nervous, twisting and turning to see who might be watching him. Practically shaking, he also suddenly got up and walked off briskly in the other direction," says Danna.

Monitor story follow-up

Ambushed in Jamundí: A Colombian Army officer and 14 soldiers were convicted Monday of murdering 10 US-trained counternarcotics police. As reported in the Sept. 27, 2006 "The War on Drugs: Ambushed in Jamundí," the Army ambush showed how drug corruption threatens Colombia's security forces.

David Clark Scott

World editor

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