The Acts of the Democracies




Indonesia and East Timor

The 32 year dictatorship of General Suharto ends in Indonesia.

During fraudulent elections, the army attacks the headquarters of the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party, lead by Megawati Sukarnoputri. 50 supporters are killed (stabbed and shot by soldiers) and many buildings are burned down.

The USA had supported the regime with over $1,000 million worth of weaponry. F-16 fighter planes, attack helicopters and M-16 combat rifles were used in the suppression of dissent and the occupation of East Timor.

Over 1,000,000 people have died under his brutal regime from 1965 as well as 200,000 in East Timor (out of a population of 700,000). In spite of this record, most media in the USA fail to report his activities accurately. In the final months of his rule, he is referred to as Indonesia's "soft-spoken, enigmatic president" (USA Today, 15 May), a "profoundly spiritual man" (New York Times, 17 May), a "reforming autocrat" (New York Times, 22 May).

His motives are made benign: "It was not simply personal ambition that led Mr. Suharto to clamp down so hard for so long; it was a fear, shared by many in this country of 210 million people, of chaos" (New York Times, 2 June); and finally, he "failed to comprehend the intensity of his people's discontent" (New York Times, 21 May).

In the mineral rich regions of Aceh and Irian Jaya, American companies (mainly Exxon Mobil) collude with the Indonesian military in keeping dissent suppressed.

Robin Cook, the new UK Foreign Secretary promises an "ethical foreign policy" but continues arms sales to Indonesia to the tune of $1,000 million per year.

The Bank of Scotland in the UK finances a paper mill in Indonesia. During the project thousands of villagers are forcibly removed from their land.

Procurement Services International (PSI) sells Tactica riot control vehicles to Indonesia which are used by Kopussus (an elite unit) in the genocide in East Timor. The managing director of PSI, Nick Oliver, had visited East Timor and compared it to Northern Ireland: "The difference is that in East Timor they do it in blocks of 200, and in Northern Ireland they do one or two a day."

Amnesty International reports that the military in Indonesia is:

"organised to deal with domestic rather than international threats. Troops are deployed throughout the country, down to village level. At each level, the military has wide ranging authority over political, social and economic matters. [These] are complemented by a range of elite unites... All are responsible for grave human rights violations. The most powerful are Kopussus units which have been responsible for grave human rights violations."

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