Former Indonesian president Suharto has popped his clogs, ceased to be and gone to join that merry band of expired dictators in perdition.
Whilst socialist, lefties and liberals with knowledge of his time in power will be thinking “good friggin’ riddance, your murdering bastard”, the US, via their Indonesian ambassador Cameron Hume declared him a “historic figure” who “led
Suffering from advanced stages of historical amnesia, Hume eulogised Suharto for his close relationship with the United States and for his part in the in the establishment of Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), totally forgetting Suharto’s 32 year stint as the country’s foremost human rights abuser. The best he could muster was to mention in passing that there had been “some controversy over his legacy” – which could be translated as “well, he might have been a bastard, but he was our bastard!”
For many years
During his meeting with President Nixon in May 1970, Suharto candidly admitted to having “nullified the strength” of the Indonesian Communist Party, a reference to the mass killings of alleged
Another 183,000 died due to killings, disappearances, hunger and illness during
Discussing guerrilla movements in
Ford and Kissinger assured Suharto that they would not oppose the invasion. Ford was in fact explicit: “We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have.” Whilst Kissinger expressed concern that the use of US made weaponry may cause embarrassment, added: “It depends on how we construe it; whether it is in self defence or is a foreign operation. It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly.”
Carter, Reagan, George Bush senior – they all backed the butcher of Indonesia, all turning a blind eye, all arming his war machine In his meeting with Suharto, Bush (then vice president), offered nothing but praise for the despot, assuring him that “our relations with Indonesia are most significant and that we derived great satisfaction from our relations with Jakarta.”
Though dethroned back in a1998 pro-democracy uprising, neither Suharto or anyone connected with him was tried for human rights abuses, not least because some of his then trusted generals occupy powerful posts today
Commented Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch Asia: "One of the enduring legacies of Suharto's regime has been the culture of impunity,"
A newly posted Declassified Documentary Obituary of Suharto can be found on the US National Security Archive. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB242/index.htm
a selection of declassified
Said Brad Simpson Brad Simpson, who directs the Archive's