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#69015 - 30 Jan 08 00:33 US propped up Suharto, documents show
Magpie Offline
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http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23126774-38196,00.html

THE US declassified documents today detailing how Washington propped up ex-Indonesian leader Suharto, who died at the weekend, at the expense of democracy and human rights.

The documents, declassified following requests under a freedom of information law, showed the US administration did not use its leverage to bring Suharto to account during his 32-year reign until his last months in office.

"One thing that is clear from the tens of thousands of pages of which we had declassified concerning US ties with Suharto from 1966 to 1998 - at no moment did US presidents ever exercise their maximum leverage over his regime to press for human rights or democratisation," said Brad Simpson of the National Security Archive.

The body, a non-governmental research institute at George Washington University in Washington, collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act.

Mr Simpson, who directs the archive's Indonesia and East Timor documentation project, said the only time Washington "decisively intervened" in Indonesia was in 1998 when it was reeling from a financial meltdown amid unprecedented riots.

Bill Clinton, the Democratic US president at the time, phoned Suharto about half a dozen times, pressing the Indonesian leader to adopt a stringent adjustment program demanded by the International Monetary Fund, according to the documents.

Suharto adhered to the demands of the United States and IMF.

"I think it is indicative of the kinds of pressure US could bring to bear when it decides that it is in our interest to do so, but this was done on behalf of international financial institutions, never on behalf of human rights activists and the pro-democracy movement in Indonesia," Mr Simpson said.

The declassified documents include transcripts of Suharto's meetings with presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, as well as secretary of state Henry Kissinger.

They also mirrored US perceptions of Suharto from the earliest years of his violent rule, including the 1969 annexation of West Papua, the 1975 invasion of East Timor, and the so-called "mysterious killings" of 1983-1984.

The US was a steadfast ally of Suharto for much of his rule, providing him aid, weapons and diplomatic support as it regarded him as an effective bulwark against communism.

Suharto made his first visit as head of state to the US in May 1970 amid rampant corruption and a major crackdown on political parties at home, but at the White House meeting, Nixon told the Indonesian leader he was presiding over one of the "largest democratic countries in the world".

"There are no issues between the US and Indonesia," Kissinger wrote to Nixon approvingly, "and relations are excellent".

In his talks with Gerald Ford at the White House five years later, Suharto brought up the question of Portuguese decolonisation in East Timor and declared "the only way is to integrate the territory into Indonesia".

Ford gave no response, according to the documents.

There also was no mention of human rights in Indonesia in the briefing papers of Suharto's meeting with Reagan in October 1982.

Two years later, when vice president George HW Bush visited Jakarta on the heels of an alleged massacre of hundreds of civilians in East Timor and "mysterious killings" in Indonesia, the discussions centred largely on US ties with the Soviet Union and China.

The US embassy in Jakarta estimated that the government had summarily executed at least about 4000 people at that time, documents showed.

Human rights abuses during Suharto's rule included a 1965-1966 crackdown on suspected communists and sympathisers estimated by historians to have killed at least half a million people.

Following Suharto's death on 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 ... (he) left a lasting imprint on Indonesia and the region of South-East Asia", the embassy statement read.

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#69016 - 30 Jan 08 00:37 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Magpie]
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Prime Minister Helen Clark said she would not be signing a condolence book for former Indonesia dictator Suharto.


The state funeral was held yesterday for the 86-year-old Suharto, who died on Sunday of multiple organ failure after more than three weeks on life support at a Jakarta hospital.

Hundreds of thousands of left-wing political opponents were killed during Suharto's military regime.

Asked yesterday whether she would sign a condolence book for Mr Suharto, Miss Clark replied that she would not.

"I haven't signed a book. I have no plan to sign a book."

Miss Clark said Suharto had left a "mixed" legacy.

During the course of his tenure, Indonesia had grown and developed quickly, and Asean had developed to be a signficant regional organisation which had brought peace between the countries of the south east Asia.

But his human rights record had been "appalling," Miss Clark said.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4379717a6160.html
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#69017 - 30 Jan 08 01:36 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Magpie]
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How we lied to put a killer in power
By Paul Lashmar and James Oliver
Sunday, 16 April 2000

The world's press was systematically manipulated by British intelligence as part of a plot to overthrow Indonesia's President Sukarno in the 1960s, according to Foreign Office documents. The BBC, the Observer and Reuters news agency were all duped into carrying stories manufactured by agents working for the Foreign Office.

Last night, Denis Healey, Labour's defence secretary at the time, admitted the intelligence war had spun out of control in Indonesia. At one point the British were planting false documents on dead soldiers. Lord Healey even had to stop service chiefs from taking military action. He said: "I would not let the RAF drop a single bomb although they were very anxious to get involved."

The left-leaning Sukarno was overthrown in 1966 and up to half a million people were massacred by the new regime. Now a Foreign Office document obtained by the Independent on Sunday reveals the full extent of the "dirty tricks" campaign orchestrated from London, and how the world's journalists were manipulated.

A letter marked "secret and personal" from propaganda expert Norman Reddaway to Britain's ambassador in Jakarta, Sir Andrew Gilchrist, brags about the campaign which aimed to destabilise Mr Sukarno by suggesting his rule would lead to a communist takeover. One story "went all over the world and back again", writes Reddaway, while information from Gilchrist was "put almost instantly back into Indonesia via the BBC".

This included an allegation, with no apparent basis in reality, that Indonesian communists were planning to slaughter the citizens of Jakarta.

Reddaway, a specialist with the FO's Information Research Department (IRD), writes: "I wondered whether this was the first time in history that an ambassador had been able to address the people of his country of work almost at will and virtually instantaneously."

Showing his low opinion of journalists, he boasts that "newsmen would take anything from here, and pestered us for copy". He had been sent to Singapore to bolster British efforts to overthrow the Indonesian president and support General Suharto. His brief from London had been "to do whatever I could do to get rid of Sukarno", he revealed before his death last year. He therefore embarked on an extensive campaign of placing favourable stories with news wires, foreign correspondents and the BBC, and also used the pages of Encounter, an influential magazine for the liberal intelligentsia which, it later emerged, had been funded and controlled by the CIA.

His letter even suggests that the Observer newspaper had been persuaded to take the Foreign Office "angle" on the Indonesian takeover by reporting a "kid glove coup without butchery".

Last month, Abdurrahman Wahid, the country's current president, gave his support to a judicial inquiry into the massacres of 1965-66 and, in an interview broadcast on state television, promised to punish those found guilty.

Newly discovered cabinet papers show that British agencies, including MI6, had supported Islamic guerrillas and other dissident groups in an effort to destabilise Sukarno. The disorder fostered by the British led to General Suharto's takeover and dictatorship, and a wave of violence unseen since the Second World War. The massacre set the stage for almost 35 years of violent suppression, including the 1975 invasion of East Timor, which was only reversed last year.

The cabinet documents (which are separate from the revelations of Reddaway) were uncovered by David Easter, an historian at the London School of Economics. His research - which is published this week in the journal Intelligence and National Security - shows that the cabinet's defence and overseas policy committee asked the head of MI6, Dick White, to draw up plans for covert operations against Indonesia in January 1964. According to Dr Easter, these operations began in the spring of that year and included supplying arms to separatists in the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and Sulawesi.

These actions were complemented by a propaganda campaign run out of Britain's Far East HQ in Singapore by the IRD, which had close connections with MI6. The unit was behind stories that Sukarno and his tolerance of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) would lead to a communist dictatorship in Indonesia.

Reddaway was a key part of this. His letter, written in July 1966, was released to Churchill College, Cambridge, which holds the private papers of Sir Andrew Gilchrist.

Last night, Lord Healey owned up to the Foreign Office misinformation campaign.

Lord Healey said: "Norman Reddaway had an office in Singapore. They began to put out false information and I think that, to my horror on one occasion, they put forged documents on the bodies of Indonesian soldiers we had taken. I confronted Reddaway over this.

"The key thing here is that Indonesia was infiltrating its troops into Borneo and had organised a coup against the Sultan of Brunei with whom we had a treaty. So we reacted similarly. I think it has been long known that British Special Forces - the SAS, SBS and Gurkhas - were used to tackle the Indonesians. But everything was done on the ground. I would not let the RAF drop a single bomb although they were very anxious to get involved."

Lord Healey denied any personal knowledge of the wider MI6 campaign to arm opponents of Sukarno. But, he added: "I would certainly have supported it."

According to one of the country's leading commentators on security matters - Richard Aldrich, a professor at Nottingham University - the episode shows Britain's post-war operations at their most effective. "It represents one of the supreme achievements of the British clandestine services," he said. "In contrast with the American CIA, they remained politically accountable and low-key. Britain has a preference for bribing people rather than blowing them up."

Professor Aldrich added that modern journalistic deadlines had made today's media even more open to manipulation than it was 30 years ago.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/how-we-lied-to-put-a-killer-in-power-721498.html
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#69024 - 30 Jan 08 09:49 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Magpie]
Piss Salon Offline
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Good articles Mr Magpie
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#69026 - 30 Jan 08 10:24 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Piss Salon]
Dilli Offline
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You would say that, particulary on the last article.....
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#69033 - 30 Jan 08 10:51 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Dilli]
Piss Salon Offline
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Well, it appears as though it is fine for the Western media and commentators to simply label the departed Dear Leader everything from the 'father of development' to a 'brutal dictator', but gloss over the West's involvement in what were among the worst crimes of the last century.
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#69035 - 30 Jan 08 10:58 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Piss Salon]
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From correspondents in Jakarta
January 30, 2008 12:28am
Article from: Agence France-Presse

THE Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights is expected to soon complete a study on human rights violations during the rule of former president Suharto, official media reported.

“Even though he's dead, it doesn't mean that the cases are closed. We are continuing our study into those violations of human rights and this is expected to be completed in early March,” commission chairman Ifdhal Kasim was quoted as saying by the Antara News agency.

“(Suharto's human rights abuses) have to be investigated, so that the public knows that killing is illegal,” Mr Kasim said.

He said that despite Suharto's death, many of those who carried out the worst abuses of his regime were still alive and should be held responsible.
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#69065 - 30 Jan 08 20:10 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Piss Salon]
Magpie Offline
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“(Suharto's human rights abuses) have to be investigated, so that the public knows that killing is illegal,” Mr Kasim said."

Although I believe this to be a blunder in translation, I think the only people who are not aware that killing is illegal is the Suharto family for goodness sake. How many programmes on Indonesian T.V. daily relaying the gory stories of everyday deaths?
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#69069 - 30 Jan 08 22:15 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Magpie]
Roy's Hair Offline
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Poor old Dennis Healey. The Silly Billy. Toppest eyebrows in UK politics


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Edited by Roy's hair (30 Jan 08 23:26)
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#69070 - 31 Jan 08 00:20 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Roy's Hair]
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From the Asia Times <http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/JA31Ae01.html>

OBITUARY
Suharto leaves an iron-fist legacy
By Michael Vatikiotis

SINGAPORE - Indonesia's long-reigning second president Suharto, who held the office from 1967 to 1998 - who died in Sunday - will be remembered as one of the more complex and contradictory autocrats of the last century.

Born to a poor peasant family in Central Java in 1921, he ruled Indonesia for more than 30 years from 1965 until his downfall in 1998, but hardly with an iron fist. There were no legions of jailed dissidents or disappearances in the night, and there was a considerable improvement in the livelihood and welfare of the average Indonesian.

There is no question that Suharto brought prosperity and development to Indonesia; his principal failing was not to see the wisdom of gradual political reform or the danger posed by his family's business empire. Suharto's ignominious resignation in May 1998 as students occupied his rubber stamp parliament and looters burned Jakarta's business district suggested another people's power revolution. The reality was less idealistic or elegant.

In a later interview, Suharto himself pinpointed the withdrawal of economic support by the United States and the International Monetary Fund as a trigger for rampant inflation and punishing price hikes - ironically more or less the same economic circumstances that led to the downfall of his predecessor, Sukarno in 1966.

Once weakened, Suharto became vulnerable to the machinations of Indonesian elite politics; his cabinet abandoned him and the army quarrelled over who would take over. Ordinary people died in the crossfire and the students were manipulated and then let down by a selfish elite unwilling to surrender their wealth and privileges. Ten years on, many of Suharto's associates from the business and political world remain in influential positions and the power of his patronage lives on in the form of charitable foundations that he established.

Suharto squandered his own legacy. He should have seen the sense of letting more light into a political system that he controlled with the skill and determination of a latter-day Javanese sultan. Reserved and somewhat aloof, the always smiling Suharto skillfully wielded power using a mix of introspection, strategic timing and cleverly managed personal networks.

He made sure that everyone reported directly to him; he even made sure that village-level funds were earmarked as coming directly from him. As the self-proclaimed "father of development", he never allowed anyone else to take credit for Indonesia's progress, a style that stunted the country's institutional and bureaucratic development and left it wholly unprepared for democracy when it finally came after his downfall.

Suharto took pride in his humble rural origins as the son of a village irrigation inspector form a village called Kemusuk on the outskirts of Jogyakarta. He liked nothing better than to tell farmers what to do - he would become animated about new techniques for bovine artificial insemination as national television broadcast wide eyed looks of wonderment on the faces of poor farmers ushered before him to hear these pearls of agronomic wisdom.

He carefully cultivated an image of humility that masked his family's fabulous wealth, wearing the same drab safari suit and keeping punctual office hours. He shunned the grand stuccoed presidential palace for a dowdy single story house filled with cheap glass kitsch. He had no weakness for fast cars or women. He rather preferred to go fishing.

All in the family
But he did have a weakness for his family. Suharto's three sons and three daughters were given carte blanche to build corporate empires, which in turn foreign investors were required to do business with. Using licensing and monopolistic practices the army had fashioned after Dutch colonial rule to fund its operation, Suharto simply allocated his family enterprises choice areas of economic growth and then ordered state run banks to lend them money. He used an arcane foundation law, which once provided a loophole for the independence movement to acquire funds under Dutch rule, to stash away billions of dollars and forced poorly paid civil servants to make donations.

It is perhaps most telling that when the late Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Jogyakarta was told about Suharto's rise to power in 1966, he responded: "Is he still in the habit of stealing?"

Major General Suharto, then in his mid-forties, crept into power on the back of a failed army-led putsch that has never been fully explained. It took this former rural credit clerk who joined the army, like so many of his generation during the Japanese occupation, more than three years to assume full power after the coup, and another decade to overcome factional rivalry within the military. The army later felt abandoned and weakened under his rule - and there were several attempts to cross him by senior officers.

Although his regime was not characterized by the blatant state-sanctioned violence of other contemporary autocrats, Suharto had blood on his hands. He allowed perhaps at least half a million Indonesians to die at the hands of anti-communist vigilantes in 1966; he jailed many thousands of suspected communists on a remote island the Dutch had used as a prison - although he later ordered their release. He oversaw the occupation and brutal suppression of East Timor in 1975 in which up to 200,000 people may have died, and sanctioned a brutal crackdown on organized crime in the mid-1980s.

All the same, many, perhaps most, Indonesians will choose to remember the good times Suharto ushered in. He was supported by the middle class in the 1960s who were fed up with Sukarno's bombastic confrontation with the West and neighboring countries, which was ruining the country.

Suharto delivered economic stability, encouraged foreign investment, prudently spread the wealth and fostered development that fed and educated people, giving poorer Indonesians the best standard of living they had ever had. By the mid-1980s, Indonesia was growing at more than 6% a year and had a per-capita income of more than US$500. In the 1990s, Indonesia was riding high, the darling of the World Bank's East Asian economic miracle.

Although crippled by strokes, Suharto lived on after his fall from power to see the real legacy of his rule, which was a chaotic scramble to shake off years of paternalistic rule and forge a workable representative democracy. In the wake of his fall, four presidents have struggled to eliminate rampant corruption in the public sector and build strong institutions that adhere to the rule of law rather than personal fealty and patronage. If only Suharto had seen the need for more openness and started the process of change earlier, the country's transition would have been less costly and less painful.

Complicated legacy
With the passing of Suharto, many will be tempted to declare a close to the authoritarian chapter of Indonesian history. So long as Suharto lived, there was no hope of closure or compensation for the more egregious excesses of his three decade rule because of the impunity he enjoyed. Now that he is gone, the danger is that people will all too easily forget and lull themselves into believing that Indonesia is on an irreversible course to a freedom, equality and justice.

Sadly, this goal is far from assured. For a political culture that nurtures selfish, corrupt elites and tends to ignore or trample on popular demands for justice and equality remains very much in place. Democracy as a system has been in effect for a decade, but democracy as a belief is still rather tenuous. How are we to be assured otherwise when the sitting vice president describes democracy as a means and not a goal of national development; or when no one can be held accountable for the mudflow from a rogue gas field owned by an influential family that has displaced tens of thousands in East Java; or when no one is punished for the murder of a prominent human rights activist.

The tenacious survival of what Indonesians call the "feudal mentality" helps explain the historical cycle of revolution, liberation, dictatorship, leading eventually back to revolt and liberation which has characterized the past sixty years. Indonesia's founding president Sukarno led a revolution that established one of Asia's youngest multi-party democracies at independence in 1949; the 1955 general election is still considered a benchmark expression of popular will.

But Sukarno's vanity and bombast convinced him that his leadership was sufficient to guide the country, and democracy withered and died. In 1965 General Suharto seized the reins of power amid protests and student unrest calling for an end to Sukarno's dictatorship. Two decades later, a new generation of students was calling Suharto the dictator, and another ten years on in 1998 he was forced from power after students occupied parliament allowing his cabinet to abandon him and the army to withdraw support.

The period since then has generated hope that the country's political system is firmly on a democratic path. One optimistic sign has been the ability to vote in and vote out a series of chief executives - four presidents in a decade compared to just two in the preceding half century. Elections have been held freely and fairly at all levels and the army has retreated from the political arena.

So why worry about the future? It is virtually a truism in Southeast Asia that elections are not a good measure of democratic health. Look at Thailand where more than a decade of democratic advancement that most observers confidently considered a corner turned ended in a military coup. In Indonesia there has never been a tradition of military coups, but there is a long history of patronage and paternalism that has tended to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few who squander national resources that could be deployed to benefit the many.

What Indonesia desperately needs to establish is a system of government that cares for all of its citizens and nurtures a culture of equality. What use is a democracy when many ordinary Indonesians remember that Suharto the authoritarian delivered welfare and prosperity, yet in Jakarta today - where the city governor is now elected - low income families suffer higher levels of chronic malnourishment and disease than a decade ago. As the late writer and social critic Y B Mangunwijaya once sadly observed: "The little man in Indonesia will only be helped by the power of the outside world because in Indonesian culture there is no tradition of helping the little man."

It would be comforting to believe that the decade Suharto spent in virtual isolation at his Jakarta home after his fall was justice of sorts for a man who allowed the country to descend into violence and ruin because he could not bring himself to let a little light into the system. But instead, the ailing Suharto commanded strong loyalty and respect from the majority of people who now lead the country - many of whom rushed to his bedside each time he was hospitalized because they owe their wealth and position to his patronage. Why last year he even won a libel case against Time Magazine over an article alleging that he and his family had illegally amassed billions of dollars and stashed them overseas.

Instead of fretting over the old dictator's residual power, it would be prudent to focus on the obstacles that lie ahead. For no matter how freely and fairly the next president is elected, if social justice isn't delivered, we will surely see new signs of the old political cycle that has burdened Indonesia since independence: protests, prompting crackdowns, the promulgation of emergency powers in the interest of stability, and eventually dictatorship.

Isn't this just what happened in the 1960s when Sukarno faced popular demands for reform and offered his people rhetoric instead of rice? The passing of Suharto should not pull the wool over outsiders' eyes and lull Indonesians into a false sense of security. Let us instead worry about the future and prevent the country's current and future leaders from assuming they can benefit from Indonesia's abundant riches without sharing the wealth and governing in the interests of all, rather than a few.

Michael Vatikiotis is the Asia regional director for the Geneva-based Center for Humanitarian Dialogue. He is the author of Indonesian Politics Under Suharto.

(Copyright 2008 Michael Vatikiotis.)

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#69071 - 31 Jan 08 00:39 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: flingwing]
Magpie Offline
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"Suharto took pride in his humble rural origins as the son of a village irrigation inspector form a village called Kemusuk on the outskirts of Jogyakarta. He liked nothing better than to tell farmers what to do - he would become animated about new techniques for bovine artificial insemination as national television broadcast wide eyed looks of wonderment on the faces of poor farmers ushered before him to hear these pearls of agronomic wisdom."

Castro did exactly the same....Farming and Dictator's, I never would have seen a link.

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#69077 - 31 Jan 08 08:16 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Magpie]
Piss Salon Offline
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Wikipedia states there is conjecture as to the ethnicity of Suharto's father, saying he may have had a Chinese father. He certainly looks part Chinese.
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#69078 - 31 Jan 08 08:23 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Piss Salon]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
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the story about suharto's chinese blood seems to have been doing the rounds for some years, with joe rakyat pointing to his "mata sipit" ("slanting" eyes) ...

the whole story about suharto's birth is a little sus. did his father really leave his mother soon after he was born? or was that story just made up to cover the fact he was a "bastard"?
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#69094 - 31 Jan 08 14:17 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Magpie]
flingwing Offline
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Quoting: Magpie
"Suharto took pride in his humble rural origins . . .. Castro did exactly the same....Farming and Dictator's, I never would have seen a link.

IMHO to be a dictator you must have an immense, "always-on", raging ego. Dictators probably relate to farming to help tone down their big-headed images.

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#69122 - 01 Feb 08 09:36 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: flingwing]
Roy's Hair Offline
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That's a great piece by Vatikiotis. Pretty much sums it up I think.


Edited by Roy's hair (01 Feb 08 09:36)
Edit Reason: mata sipit
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#69164 - 01 Feb 08 20:13 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Roy's Hair]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
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here's an aljazeera report about suharto on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3OlNBruwzk

it's in two parts.
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#69165 - 01 Feb 08 21:13 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: KuKuKaChu]
Roy's Hair Offline
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Have a look at this if you want to see the Indonesian military slit up a treat. It's British activist/comedian Mark Thomas from the late nineties. Dynamite stuff.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A_B9lB8w5k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOoZH74tspw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqRSIvWlunU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHlKTaPm-WM
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#69169 - 02 Feb 08 08:15 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Roy's Hair]
Ena Offline
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wow- that was funny but disturbing.
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#69179 - 03 Feb 08 11:31 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Ena]
Roy's Hair Offline
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Well done Mark Thomas there. Legendary stuff.
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#69180 - 03 Feb 08 12:53 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Roy's Hair]
Ena Offline
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he lives still too! Amazing.
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#69200 - 04 Feb 08 10:36 Re: US propped up Suharto, documents show [Re: Ena]
Roy's Hair Offline
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Yes, there are no doubt people who'd like to see him "Pollycarpused"
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