Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Tragedy of Indonesia

Today is Saturday, 30 September 2007.

On this date in 1965, a coup began in Jakarta, the capitol of Indonesia. Many of the military high command were kidnapped by a faction of the armed forces and killed. Major General Suharto, commanding the Strategic Reserve, conveniently survived, and his troops subsequently suppressed the coup and seized power. (He would not be driven from his position as dictator until 1998.)

The story given out by the Suharto gang: the coup was staged by elements of the military controlled by the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). This story was spread by propaganda agencies of the American and British governments, and accepted as gospel for many years. (In my library is a copy of The Smiling General, a fawning biography of Suharto, complete with a card indicating it was the gift of an American oil company.) Within the last decade, however, the truth has emerged.

The coup issued from factional infighting within the military high command. Given the fact that Suharto mysteriously survived, it is entirely possible that he instigated the coup to remove his rivals, and then murdered those who had done his bidding. In any case, Suharto, aided by the Central Intelligence Agency, launched a purge of PKI supporters and other political rivals, resulting in the murders of some 1,000,000 Indonesians.

(Many of the dead had no connection to politics. As is usual in such revels of mass destruction, bearing false witness against one's neighbor was an efficient, permanent, and satisfying tool to settle scores.)

Under Suharto, Indonesia boasted one of the most corrupt governments in history. Everyone who wished to open a business was required to give a share to a member of the military, in order to acquire the necessary licenses. The larger and more profitable the enterprise, the higher-ranking the military partner required. (Transparency International estimates that Suharto and his family alone embezzled some $15 to $35 billion.)

The military dictatorship essentially continues. From 1998 to 2004, two weak civilian presidents served as a fig leaf. In 2004, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was elected president. He spent most of his life in the military, retiring as lieutenant general. During the genocidal conquest and occupation of East Timor, troops under his command committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Readers will recall that President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger led the USA/USE in supporting the conquest and genocide.) Prior to his election, he was Minister of Security.

American support for the Indonesian dictatorship continues, now under the guise of the “Global War On Terror” (GWOT).


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