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