Subject: Various Letters - Above the law

Also Times: Suharto's flawed legacy to Indonesia; Juneau Emprire: A sick rewrite of Indonesian history

The Jakarta Post.


Above the law

January 13, 2005 1:14am

I would like to commend you on your "Commentary" article Rich, arrogant, armed and above the law of Jan. 7. The article was "spot on".

That guy should go to prison (no luxury suite either) for a long time.

In Australia everybody is treated equally before the law. Here duit (money) is the law, or has been until now.

The luckiest person in Indonesia is the second president. Now he is obviously too frightened to get medical aid abroad because of what happened to Chile's Pinochet in England. There would be a lot of people in East Timor wanting to take him to the international court.

Indonesia is a lovely country. Please God, let President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono make the government what it should be -- serving the ordinary Indonesian -- and not just there to make itself rich.

-- A.C. GALE, Bandar Lampung


The Times (London)

January 7, 2005, Friday

Suharto's flawed legacy to Indonesia

From Mr Jack Thompson Sir, Michael Gove (Comment, January 4) avoids mentioning the name of Suharto in his analysis of Indonesia's plight following the tsunami. As the BBC's South East Asia correspondent in the early 1980s, I reported many times on the brutal implementation of Suharto's transmigration programmes.

Suharto, who ruled rather than governed, whose policy of allowing his army to interfere in all levels of administration led to widespread corruption, was the darling of the West, precisely because he had worsted the powerful Indonesian Communist Party. His rewards included extensive military aid, not least from Conservative governments in this country, which he used to suppress his people and hold down East Timor, and the collective blind eye of those who saw him as a bulwark against the influence of China and Vietnam in South-East Asia.

It is not Indonesia's more recent rulers who are responsible for the basic flaws in the country's structures. They are merely heirs to the Javanese elite to which Mr Gove refers, and of which Suharto was the godfather.

Yours faithfully, JACK THOMPSON, 26 Desenfans Road, Dulwich, SE21 7DN.


Juneau Empire

Web posted January 11, 2005

A sick rewrite of Indonesian history Letter to the editor

On tsunami aid to Indonesia, Associated Press reporter Denis D. Gray stated, "Washington imposed a ban on U.S. military equipment to Jakarta in 1999 after the Indonesian Army and pro-Jakarta militias killed 1,500 people in East Timor in a failed attempt to repress an independence movement in what was then an Indonesian province."

That is one sick rewrite of history. In 1975 Indonesia invaded East Timor to secure oil and the deep submarine passages off the island. There were 690,000 people in East Timor at that time. The Indonesians massacred 60,000 within the first few months and over the next 20 years killed a total of over 200,000. Gang rape and torture were the lot of the surviving population. Look up: Fence of Legs East Timor, on the web.

Back home, Indonesia's own home ministry estimates 400,000 were killed in the mid 1960s when Suharto took power in Indonesia (Amnesty International says over a million were killed). Time magazine called it a boiling blood bath. You can find it under: Suharto boiling blood bath.

So where was the love then? At least 600,000 humans dead and gone and our free U.S. press never showed their suffering the light of day. The U.S., Britain, France, Australia and Japan all supported Suharto at that time. When Suharto massacred East Timor; President Ford and Henry Kissinger went to Jakarta two days before the invasion to give what the Timorese call "The Big Wink."

Be sure that Jakarta and some in Washington, D.C. will use the tsunami disaster to try to lift U.S. sanctions against military aid to Indonesia. Don't do it. Already there are reports coming out of Indonesia that the army is taking U.S. donations to their bases and letting children starve.

Our country was primary in founding the United Nations. We are big enough and strong enough to provide food and clean water for millions as our part of the tsunami humanitarian effort. The United States ought to work with the United Nations to make sure the civilian population receives what we are sending. We ought to give nothing but food to the Indonesian military and make sure they stand in line like everyone else.

Dick Callahan Douglas

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