The New York Times has an obituary article on General Suharto of Indonesia who died recently at the age of 86 years. The article notes he was a mass murderer almost unparalleled in the history of the world, but fails to mention much about US support of his mass murders.
As is noted, Suharto killed anywhere from 500,000 to one million people in 1965. The article fails to note that the USA (via the CIA) supplied him with thousands of names of suspected communists so that he could more easily kill them.
The article also notes Suharto invaded East Timor in 1975, killing off 200,000 to 250,000 people on that island during a brutal occupation that lasted nearly 25 years. The article fails to note the historical fact that President Ford gave Suharto the green light to attack East Timor and Suharto acted promptly, attacking while Ford’s plane was still in the air after leaving Indonesia! The US then provided military training for and massive transfer of weapons and technology to Indonesia all the way thru the Clinton years during which time our government acknowledged Suharto as “our kind of guy.” The following knowledge is historical fact and easy to find, but apparently evaded the NY Times:
The UN Security Council had a unanimous vote for Indonesia to stop its invasion and to withdraw immediately from East Timor’s borders, and was blocked by the United States from imposing any economic sanctions any way of enforcing this mandate. Two days before the invasion of Dili and subsequent annexation, U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met President Suharto in Jakarta where Ford made it clear that “We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have.” Kissinger added: “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly [because] the use of US-made arms could create problems.” U.S. arms sales to Indonesia continued well into the Clinton Administration, although the U.S. did eventually discontinue its support of Suharto’s regime. As “Timor Timur”, the territory was declared the twenty-seventh province of Indonesia in July 1976. Its nominal status in the UN remained that of a “non-self-governing territory under Portuguese administration.”
The East Timorese guerrilla force, Falintil, fought a campaign against the Indonesian forces from 1975 to 1999, some members being trained in Portugal by Portuguese special forces. Jimmy Carter, during his first year in office, authorized 112 million dollars worth of military arms to Indonesia, which allowed an expansion of the war on land as well as air, with overwhelming consequences, resulting in the deaths as many as 200,000 East Timorese, more than one third of the island nation’s population .”
Of course, there was a good reason we supported Suharto thru all of the blood and gore. We wanted the profits to come from pillaging his nation of its wealth. In a very good article by Renato Redentor Constantino he writes:
How did the leading journalistic lights of the West write about the massacres in Indonesia in 1965 and 1966, using “systematically compiled comprehensive lists” supplied by US officials to Suharto and his generals and described by the CIA as “one of the greatest mass murders in the 20th century.”
In June 1966, star columnist James Reston of the New York Times portrayed Suharto’s cleansed republic as “a gleam of light in Asia.” A month later Time magazine lauded “The West’s best news for years in Asia” under the heading “Vengeance with a Smile,” and depicted the rampaging army as “scrupulously constitutional” and “based on law not on mere power,” led by the “quietly determined” Suharto, with his “almost innocent face.”
There is always a reason for fawning when combined with hard-nosed business journalism and real politik.
Who will tell us of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt’s remarks, on his visit to the US in 1966, “With 500,000 to a million communist sympathizers knocked off, I think it’s safe to assume a reorientation has taken place”? And who will recall the advise to Washington by the New York Times in December 1965 — as the carnage was underway — that it “would do well to encourage the International Monetary Fund, the new Asian Development Bank and, perhaps, an international consortium to take the lead.” A year later, the Times would follow up and counsel Washington “to retain a neutralist posture. There is an urgent need for a large international loan — perhaps as much as a half-billion dollars…. [I]t is vital that the United States play a positive role in building an international aid consortium.”
Two decades after, the Economist of London would describe Suharto as “at heart benign” and the Christian Science Monitor would call the dictator a “moderate leader.” As far as official lines go, they were not far off the mark. Margaret Thatcher called Suharto “one of our very best and most valuable friends,” and with good reason. “With it’s 100 million people and its 300-mile arc of islands containing the region’s richest hoard of natural resources,” said Richard Nixon in 1967, “Indonesia is the greatest prize in South-East Asia.”
Time-Life Corporation itself organized “an extraordinary conference” in Geneva in 1967, which, according to dissident writer, John Pilger, “designed the corporate takeover of Indonesia.” Everyone was there, from major oil companies and banks to firms such as General Motors, American Express, and Goodyear.
Noam Chomsky has written proliferatively about the East Timor situation with relation to US support for all of their misery, including an article back in 1999 entitled, “Why Americans should care about East Timor.” In the article he describes very nicely the great secret combination of the US government and Suharto and how they colluded so naturely to kill so many people.
The National Security Archives has a great section on Suharto that uncovers much of the US complicity in his murders. For example, here is the declassified document that shows Ford and Kissinger giving Suharto the green light to attack East Timor (from the bottom of Page 8 to page 10):
The rest of the National Security Archives page on Suharto is equally delicious, documenting our support of Suharto to the hilt.
Doesn’t this sort of thing make some of you wonder? Why does the US do this sort of thing? This shows that at least every President since LBJ should probably be hanged for complicity in these murders. Nonetheless, we received the sanitized version in the major media and America continues to be the protector of freedom, the arbiter of good, the nation blessed of God, and we continue to miss seeing the massive secret combination that is going to end up destroying this country and the freedom of all countries eventually. At least I can shake my garments in front of you. Wake up America!