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Subject: USAID-funded Suharto-ET coffee project!
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 13:53:31 +1100
From: (George J. Aditjondro)

Please distribute this to East Timor friends in the US, and especially the Washington Post journalist, Cindy Shiner, who reported the NCBA-USAID project for ET coffee farmers, without reporting its connections with Suharto's eldest daughter! Thanks, GJA

East Timorese coffee robbery:

In the 1970s and 1980s, the export of coffee from East Timor was monopolized by PT Denok, which was backed by General Benny Murdani, the commander of the 1975 East Timor invasion, Operasi Komodo. In the 1990s, after Benny Murdani was desposed from the top position in as ABRI commander, Suharto's eldest daughter, Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, also known as Tutut, took this monopoly over through her company, PT Citra Inskopindo Persada, based in Dili with a representative office in Jakarta.

This company buys the coffee from the farmers through an Indonesian government imposed network of village cooperatives, Puskud (Pusat Koperasi Unit Desa), grinds 1.2 ton of Arabica coffee per year, and exports it to the US, Australia, and Aotearoa (New Zealand), under the brand name, Cafe Timor .

With the help of a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (US-AID), the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) markets the coffee in the US, and also provides technical supervision in East Timor. This has been proudly admitted by Sam Filiaco from the NCBA, in an interview with Cindy Shiner from the Washington Post on Monday, July 20, 1998 (page A14), without any word mentioning Tutut's involvement in this scheme. The funding idea arose after a former U.S. ambassador to Jakarta traveled to East Timor and saw that there was a cartel -- Benny Murdani's PT Denok cartel -- controlling the price of coffee and that therefore the farmers were not receiving a fair price.

Benny Murdani's cartel, however, was simply replaced by a Suharto-protected cartel, since only the company on the top of the pyramid, PT Denok, was replaced by PT Citra Inskopindo Persada, using the same military-backed pseudo-village cooperative network, Puskud (Pusat Kooperasi Unit Desa).

This NCBA-Tutut-Puskud network, which began four years ago with 800 farmers, is now engaging 13,000 of an estimated 30,000 coffee farmers in the occupied territory. As their project coordinators admitted to the Washington Post journalist, their relations with the military are good in the region. No wonder, since the influence of Suharto's son-in-law, Lieutenant General Prabowo Subianto, is still very strong in the region, due to the Suharto family's wealth and the fact that the current East Timorese puppet governor, Jose Abilio Osorio-Soares, is a Prabowo protegee (Aditjondro, 1994: 57-59; Indonesian Manufacturing Directory 1993/1994, pp. 196-197; Jakarta Post , 16 May 1997; Washington Post , July 20, 1998; Cafe Timor packages).

NB: For further information contact office of PT Citra Inskopindo Persada in Jakarta: BBD Plaza, 23-rd Floor, Jalan Imam Bonjol No. 61, Jakarta Pusat. Phone: (62-21) 322 155, 337 102 (5 lines); Fax: (62-21) 328 140, Director: Bungaran Tambunan.


Newcastle, July 22, 1998.

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