There is an article by the AFP today that admits that the US supported Suharto dispite what they called “rights abuses.” However, the article is way to easy on the US, as if we were right to support him, but we should have thrown our weight around a little more to get him to stop his “rights abuses” (is that what we call killing a million of your own people and committing genocide in another country these days?). The article also lies when it states that President Ford had no reply for Suharto when he said he was going to go into East Timor and attack. Ford did reply according to National Security Archives recovered papers and said: “We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have.”
The article then goes on to show how the official US position is embodied in its memorial of Suharto thru the US embassy:
Following Suharto’s death Sunday, he was hailed by the US embassy in Jakarta as a “historic figure” who “achieved remarkable economic development.”
“Though there may be some controversy over his legacy,” Suharto “left a lasting imprint on Indonesia and the region of Southeast Asia,” the embassy statement read.
Our secret combinations continue to minimize the terror that this man created and that the US supported completely.
The AP brings us some of the survivors stories:
It was the worst mass slaughter in Southeast Asia’s modern history after the Khmer Rouge killing fields in Cambodia.
A frenzy of anti-communist violence stained rivers with blood and littered the countryside with the bodies of teachers, farmers and others.
“They used to dump the bodies here,” recalled Surien, a 70-year-old woman who lived near a bay used as an execution ground. “People called it the beach of stinking corpses because of the smell.”
The CIA provided lists of thousands of leftists, including trade union members, intellectuals and schoolteachers, many of whom were executed or sent to remote prisons.
Another 183,000 died due to killings, disappearances, hunger and illness during Indonesia’s 1975-1999 occupation of East Timor, according to an East Timorese commission sanctioned by the U.N. Similar abuses left more than 100,000 dead in West Papua, according a local human rights group. Another 15,000 died during a 29-year separatist rebellion in Aceh province.
In recent interviews around the city of Blitar, a former communist stronghold, survivors of the atrocities recounted a life on the run, living in caves, being beaten and beheadings of other captives.a
“I am disappointed. I saw great cruelties and am lucky I am not dead,” said Talam, whose simple two-room home overlooks a valley dotted with overgrown mass graves.
Dragging on a clove-cigarette with trembling hands, he described how he was detained by police but escaped. He stumbled across dead bodies in shallow graves and slept in dank caves with hundreds of others, eating what the jungle had to offer for 50 days, until being picked up.
Talam, a former member of a left-wing union for park rangers, said he was tortured and beaten repeatedly during interrogations while detained on remote Buru island, where about 12,000 political prisoners were held, 1,100 miles east of the capital, Jakarta. “Why has no one been put on trial?” he asked.
Of course, the US complicity is only casually addressed in this article as well.