Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mohammed Suharto, June 8 1921- January 27 2008

Suharto was dictator of Indonesia from 1967 to 1998. Suharto took power in a coup (with CIA involvement). Following the takeover between 300,000 and 1 million communists and ethnic Chinese were massacred by the army and militias in one of the largest massacres of the second half of the twentieth century. 10,000 communists' names were given to the army by the CIA. He was not driven from power until 1998, in what is sometimes called the Indonesian Revolution.

A standout events of the Suharto years was the invasion of East Timor. From Moreorless Suharto file.

Indonesia invades on 7 December, landing forces at the capital Dili and at Baukau, 100 kilometres to the east, and installing a puppet government composed of members of UDT and Apodeti.

The occupation takes place with the blessing of US President Gerald Ford and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who meet with Suharto in Jakarta on 6 December, the day before the Indonesian troops are mobilized.

"I would like to speak to you, Mr President, about another problem, Timor. ... Fretilin is infected the same as is the Portuguese Army with communism ... We want your understanding if we deem it necessary to take rapid or drastic action," Suharto tells the visitors.

Ford replies, "We will understand and will not press you on this issue. We understand the problem you have and the intentions you have."

Kissinger says, "You appreciate that the use of US-made arms could create problems. ... It depends on how we construe it; whether it is in self-defense or is a foreign operation. It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly. We would be able to influence the reaction in America if whatever happens, happens after we return."

It is estimated that 60,000 East Timorese or 10% of the population are killed in the first two months of the invasion. All told, up to 250,000 of East Timor's 1975 population of about 650,000 will die as a result of the occupation, which will last for 24 years.

I remember when Ford died he was rather placed on a pedestal. It's unfortunate he gave the go-ahead to what turned out to be among the most brutal invasions of the century. From the Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens.

... on 7 December 1975, when the armed forces of Indonesia crossed the border of East Timor in strength, eventually proclaiming it ... a full part of Indonesia proper.

Timorese resistance to this claim was so widespread, and the violence required to impose it was so ruthless and generalized, that the figure of 100,000 deaths in the first wave - perhaps one-sixth of the entire population - is reckoned an understatement.

The date of the Indonesian invasion - 7 December 1975 - is of importance and also of significance. On that date, President Gerald Ford and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, concluded an official visit to Jakarta and flew to Hawaii. Since they had come fresh from a meeting with Indonesia's military junta, and since the United States was Indonesia's principal supplier of military hardware ... it seemed reasonable to inquire whether the two leaders had given the invaders any impression amounting to a "green light". Thus when Ford and Kissinger landed at Hawaii, reporters asked Mr Ford for comment on the invasion of Timor. The President was evasive.


So gruesome were the subsequent reports of mass slaughter, rape, and deliberate use of starvation that such bluntness fell somewhat out of fashion. The killing of several Australian journalists who had witnessed Indonesia's atrocities, the devastation in the capital city of Dili, and the stubbornness of FRETILIN's hugely outgunned rural resistance made East Timor an embarrassment rather than an advertisement for Jakarta's new order. Kissinger generally attempted to avoid any discussion of his involvement in the extirpation of the Timorese - an ongoing involvement, since he authorized back-door shipments of weapons to those doing the extirpating - and was ably seconded in this by his ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who later confided in his memoir A Dangerous Place that, in relative terms, the death toll in East Timor during the initial days of the invasion was "almost the toll of casualties experienced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War." Moynihan continued:

The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.

Suharto was a leader whose corruption can only be compared to Ferdinand Marcos and Mubutu Sese Seko. According to Time Asia, his family was worth $15 Billion. His five children are variously linked to the corruption as well. His most notorious offspring "Tommy" Suharto, went so far as to hire a hitman to kill a judge who had convicted him in a graft. In old age Mohammed Suharto was reduced to feigning senility to avoid being brought up on corruption charges. How the mighty are brought low.

To summarize: if hell existed, there'd be a grand welcome there this week.


Ignorance is not bliss said...

...one decrepit monster gone, so many remain...
...Meanwhile the West Papuans remain occupied by the current regime...

Jakarta’s plan to further split Papua
from: http://www.freewestpapua.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=511&Itemid=2
RNZI Posted at 07:26 on 28 January, 2008 UTC

A religious leader in Indonesia’s Papua has called for Jakarta lawmakers to consult with Papuans before going ahead with their plan to split their region into four new provinces.
Last week, Indonesia’s House of Representatives endorsed its own plan to create eight new provinces, including adding four provinces to the two in its Papua region.

The move has caused an outcry among many analysts and religious leaders who describe it as part of a "divide and rule" tactic by Jakarta.
Now the House has agreed to delay the split for a few months while the government evaluates whether the new provinces would be of benefit to the local people.
Father Neles Tebay of the Jayapura Catholic Diocese says there must be discussion of how the split relates to Papua’s Special Autonomy status.
“A comprehensive evaluation by both the central government and the Papuan people. I think this is the one step that can be taken by both parties. Otherwise it will create more problems in West Papua.”
Father Neles Tebay says that as it stands, neither the Papuan People’s Assembly and Papuan Legislative Council has given approval for the planned split.
He says that going ahead with that split without that approval would be a violation of Special Autonomy law.

'We want freedom!'

My name is Benny Wenda, I am a West Papuan independence leader and chairman of the Koteka Tribal Assembly. My village was bombed by Indonesia when I was a child and many of my family were killed. Later, I began to campaign peacefully to free my people. For this 'crime' I was arrested, tortured and threatened with death.

I managed to escape to Britain, where I now live in exile. Many of my people are still suffering. They have been killed, raped and tortured. Life is hard for them. All we are asking for is the freedoms that you enjoy every day - the freedom to speak your mind, to live without fear and to choose your own government.
Please hear my peoples' cry for help. Please support the Free West Papua Campaign.


BTW did you know.....
Juwono Sudarsono, current Republic of Indonesia Minister of Defense has a blog.


Ignorance is not bliss said...

This website gives a great overview of the condition and the UN and others reluctance to enforce decolonization doctrines.


Colonization is a moral crime, it is when one nation decides to steal or colonize the resources of another nation of people. Although the United States was founded by rebellion to colonization, and the United Nations seeking to end conflict and suffering incorporates the concept of decolonization into its Charter; nobody has believed it was practical to get a colonial nation to submit itself to an international court for such actions. Although colonization is not a legal crime, failure to commence and complete Decolonization is.
The United Nations focused upon the task of decolonization and ending the suffering of colonized peoples. After fifteen years the United Nations membership agreed to General Asembly Resolutions 1514 (XV) Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples, and 1541 (XV) Principles which should guide Members in determing whether or not an obligation exists to transmit the information called for under Article 73 e of the Charter.

These two resolutions provide an enforcable committment by members of the United Nations to end colonization, such as West Papua's. In brief, 1514 states that EVERY COLONY MUST HAVE "SELF-DETERMINATION" WITH DELAY; while 1541 provides principles which decribe what a colony is, and what is meant by "Self-determination". These are the resolutions which the Republic of Indonesia with the support of its US corporate business partners has been violating since 1962.