Found buried deep in the archives. TimeLife#taok
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Found Buried Deep in the Archives

ETAN's team of crack researchers found this disturbing "thank you postcard" buried deep in the archives in the back of a file cabinet. The Indonesian military thanks TimeLife for its support.

  another from the 'archives' this Indonesia thank you to Time-Life

Graphic from Oscar-nominated documentary THE ACT OF KILLING

From Chapter 2 of Power in Motion by Jeffrey A. Winters

Among them was James A. Linen, the President of Time, Inc.

So taken was Linen with the revolutionary changes occurring around him that he offered to sponsor a summit between the world's top business executives--all of whom were Linen's personal friends -- and key members of Indonesia's Cabinet and economic team. 26 In the words of Indonesia's rapporteur, the summit would allow "both sides, directly and with open hearts, to discuss the possibilities for foreign capital investment in Indonesia." It was agreed that an "Indonesian Investment Conference" would be held in Geneva early in November, 1967. Underscoring the seriousness with which Suharto viewed this first shot at an international forum on investment, he issued a Presidential Decree to give the Indonesian delegation full authority to represent the government. Its members included the Economic and Foreign Ministers, plus most of the top government economists in charge of investment, trade, and finance. In all, twenty Indonesians went to Geneva, plus two Ambassadors with staff in tow. 30 It was a most impressive display.

While the Indonesian officials were certain of their objectives, the means to achieving them through the conference had to be treated delicately. The clearest and most forthright signals possible had to be sent to these business leaders. But at the same time, these were some of the highest officials of the Indonesian government, and they had to maintain at least a public display of dignity and pride. If they appeared too eager or forthcoming, it would provide ammunition to those back in Jakarta who were disgusted at what they saw as an obsequious posture of the New Order toward creditors and investors. A balance was struck by making the summit a closed-door affair: invited guests only, and no reporters. In addition to private and official views expressed to the press after the conference, written summaries prepared for selected audiences would be circulated subsequently. [James A. Linen, the President of Time, Inc.] and Timor, In. would help reach out to the broader business community through its links to worldwide press channels. The Indonesian embassies in the U.S. and Europe, meanwhile, would distribute nicely-crafted public relations materials based on the summit.

The conference opened on 2 November with a spirited address from Linen himself. "We are trying to create a new climate," he said, "in which private enterprise and developing countries work together for their mutual interest and profit, and to the even greater profit of the free world." 32 Linen was personally impressed with the signs of change in the former Dutch colony. The Indonesian guests had been brought to Geneva to impress everyone else, or, as Time's report of the proceedings put it, to "make the case for Indonesia."

Press reports suggest that investors were powerfully impressed with the conference. "Sources said it largely convinced many of the world's biggest companies... that it was worth their while to explore further the possibilities of investment in Indonesia."

Mohammad Sadli [the Chairman of the Foreign Investment Team at the time of the conference], who went on to hold cabinet posts under Suharto, believes that the impact of the investment conference was substantial. Reflecting on the proceedings--more than two decades hence--he said,

The conference in Geneva was very important. It was a first in many senses. [It] gave us our first opening shot on drawing capital into Indonesia. Immediately after that, we got a big inrush of oil investments. I don't know if there was a direct link between the event and the inrush, but there is no doubt that the conference set the tone for the years to follow. It also gave us experience speaking on behalf of Indonesia in front of the world's top investors. It was very successful. The Berkeley group knew how to speak the language of these business people.

He maintains, also, that the early years of the New Order were marked by an extraordinary sense of urgency, especially to get the country's productive pumps primed. Still referring to the conference, Sadli offered this insight:

Overall, we were extremely forthcoming in our presentation. We were desperate to get new investments and we were willing to receive anything. With Freeport, which was the first generation of new investments in Indonesia, I all but said 'where is the dotted line for me to sign on?'They were ready to invest even before we had an investment law under which to sign the agreement. By the time of the conference, however, we were more ready.

Having major players like Freeport blaze the investment trail is extremely important to others who want to invest but are afraid they will lose everything. Ali Budiardjo explains:

The signing of the contract with Freeport was highly publicized. For the Indonesian government it meant that a big company had confidence in the government. This was important so that others would follow. It did happen, but only after a delay of about a year. Other investors didn't have the same courage as Freeport. They were careful. Especially politically, they wanted to be sure. The big companies wanted to be sure the PKI was destroyed. They also wanted evidence that the government knew what it was going to do. It was important that Suharto surrounded himself with economists.

From January 1967 (when the Investment Law was announced) to June 1968--a little more than a half-year after the Geneva conference--roughly 100 applications worth almost half-a-billion dollars had been received from prospective foreign investors.


from fn. 28

Pan American Airlines supplied a chartered airplane for the Indonesian delegation, while InterContinental Hotels Corporation supplied accommodations. It is not clear whether Linen paid for these services, but it is certain that the Indonesians did not. Mohammad Sadli offers these recollections: "James Linen was the kingpin of the whole conference. I think he paid for it mostly by himself. It must have been very expensive.

From Pretext for Mass Murder by John Roosa

(pp. 15-16)

While preoccupied with Indochina in 1965,Washington was nothing short of joyous as Suharto’s army defeated the movement and rampaged against the Communists. Sukarno’s neutrality in the cold war and the PKI’s growing power within the country were ended in one fell swoop. Suharto’s army did what the U.S. puppet state in South Vietnam could not accomplish despite its millions of aid dollars and thousands of U.S. troops: it finished off its country’s Communist movement. Within ten days of the outbreak of the movement, the New York Times reporter Max Frankel already had noted that the mood in Washington had brightened; his article was headlined “U.S. Is Heartened by Red Setback in Indonesia Coup.” He observed that there was “hope where only two weeks ago there was despair about the fifth most populous nation on earth, whose 103 million inhabitants on 4,000 islands possess vast but untapped resources and occupy one of the most strategic positions in Southeast Asia.”

As reports of the massacres arrived during the months that followed, the hope in Washington only grew. By June 1966 a leading editorial writer for the New York Times, James Reston, had called the “savage transformation” in Indonesia “a gleam of light in Asia.” A Time magazine cover story called Suharto’s ascent “the West’s best news for years in Asia.”  Deputy Undersecretary of State Alexis Johnson believed that the “reversal of the Communist tide in the great country of Indonesia” was “an event that will probably rank along with the Vietnamese war as perhaps the most historic turning point of Asia in this decade.”38 As Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman have noted, the massacres in Indonesia represented a “benign bloodbath” and a “constructive terror” because they served U.S. foreign policy interests. While Washington adduced every human rights violation in the Soviet bloc as evidence of the iniquity of the cold war enemy, it ignored, justified, or even abetted atrocities committed by governments allied with the United States.

(pp. 27)

The joy at his overthrow of Sukarno and destruction of the PKI outweighed any humanitarian considerations.

Such priorities are apparent in Time magazine’s cover story on Suharto in July 1966. It correctly noted that the “army was responsible for much of the killing” and acknowledged that the killing “took more lives
than the U.S. has lost in all wars in this century.” Not shying away from gory details, the article mentioned that some suspected Communists were beheaded and some corpses dumped in the rivers. But then the article praised Suharto’s new army-dominated regime for being “strictly constitutional.” Suharto was quoted as saying, “Indonesia is a state based on law not on mere power.”72 Because the bloodbath was constructive in terms of U.S. foreign policy interests, Time could describe the perpetrators in a wholly positive light, even when this resulted in bizarre juxtapositions of decapitated heads and constitutional procedure.

From Time magazine: Investment: Indonesia Waits, Friday, Nov. 10, 1967

Last week in Geneva, Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik and Economics Minister Sultan Hamengku Buwono faced an extraordinary audience of businessmen.* In a three-day meeting sponsored by Time Inc., top executives of European, Japanese, Australian, Canadian and U.S. companies gathered to hear just how vital foreign investments can be to the future of Indonesia. ...

* A sampling: Gianni Agnelli, chairman, Fiat; George W. Ball, chairman, Lehman Bros. International; Eugene Black, director, Chase Manhattan Bank; Norton Clapp, chairman, Weyerhaeuser Co.; Howard L. Clark, president, American Express; Russell R. De Young, chairman, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.; Floyd D. Hall, president, Eastern Airlines; Robert V. Hansberger, president, Boise Cascade; John D. Harper, president, Aluminum Co. of America; Earl B. Hathaway, president, Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.; H. J. Heinz II, chairman, H. J. Heinz Co.; Robert C. Hills, president, Freeport Sulphur Co.; Edward B. Hinman, president, International Paper Co.; Dr. Koji Kobayashi, president, Nippon Electric Co.; Rudolph A. Peterson, president, Bank of America; Frederik Jacques Philips, president, N. V. Philips' Gloeilampenfabrieken; David Rockefeller, president, Chase Manhattan Bank; Dr. Samuel Schewizer, chairman, Swiss Bank Corp.; Dr. Gerd Tacke, director, Siemens A.G.; Abderrahman Tazi, executive director, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

From Globalisation in Indonesia: Spoils of a Massacre,  report by John Pilger, Guardian Weekend 14 July 2001

In November 1967, following the capture of the "greatest prize", the booty was handed out. The Time-Life Corporation sponsored an extraordinary conference in Geneva which, in the course of a week, designed the corporate takeover of Indonesia.

It was attended by the most important businessmen in the world, the likes of David Rockefeller, and all the giants of western capitalism were represented. They included the major oil companies and banks, General Motors, Imperial Chemical Industries, British Leyland, British-American Tobacco, American Express, Siemens, Goodyear, the International Paper Corporation, US Steel.
Across the table were Suharto's men, whom Rockefeller called "Indonesia's top economic team". Several were economists trained at the University of California in Berkeley. All sang for their supper, offering the principal selling points of their country and their people: "Abundance of cheap labour . . . a treasure house of resources . . . a captive market." Recently, I asked one of them, Dr Emile Salim, if anyone at the conference had even mentioned that a million people had died in bringing this new business-friendly government to power. "No, that was not on the agenda," he replied. "I didn't know about it till later. Remember, we didn't have television and the telephones were not working well."

The Indonesian economy was carved up, sector by sector, at the conference. In one room, forests in another, minerals. The Freeport Company got a mountain of copper in West Papua (Henry Kissinger is currently on the board). A US/European consortium got West Papua's nickel. The giant Alcoa company got the biggest slice of Indonesia's bauxite. A group of US, Japanese and French got thetropical forests of Sumatra, West Papua and Kalimantan.

A Foreign Investment Law, hurried on to the statutes by Suharto, made this plunder tax-free for at least five years. Real, and secret, control of the Indonesian economy passed to the IMF and the World Bank through the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI), whose principal members were the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. Under Sukarno, Indonesia had few debts. Now the really big loans rolled in, often straight into pockets, as the treasurehouse of resources rolled out. Shortly before the Asian financial crash in 1997, the IGGI godfathers congratulated their favourite mass murderer for having "created a miracle economy.

About East Timor and Indonesian Action Network

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste, West Papua and Indonesia. In 2012, the government of the Democratic Republic Timor-Leste awarded ETAN the Order of Timor (Ordem Timor) for its role in the liberation of the country. More information about ETAN can be found at:  


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see also

The World Bank gave $30 billion to a dictator who killed 1 million. From projection on World Bank hq. Photo by Dakota Bell.  

East Timor and Indonesian Action Network projects the Oscar-nominated documentary THE ACT OF KILLING on World Bank headquarters

Statement by Komnas Ham (National Commission For Human Rights) on the Results of Its Investigations into Grave Violation of Human Rights During the Events of 1965 -1966

TAPOL: Indonesia’s Unresolved Mass Murders

Accountability for Suharto’s Crimes Must Not Die With Himalso Bahasa Indonesia; Tetum  

ETAN: Backgrounder on Life and Career Suhartoalso Bahasa Indonesia: Tentang Soeharto

Jubilee USA and ETAN Challenge World Bank to Address Roots of Corruption by Canceling Indonesia's Suharto-Era Debt




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