today i read a passage by mark curtis, "complicity in a million deaths" (2003), about britains role on the slaughter of a million indonesian peasants during the annihilation of indonesian communist party, 1965. it's inside a book titled "tell me no lies" edited by john pilger. below is the foreword (written by the editor) of curtis passage. i consider this an important and courageous piece of work. not like most information provided by todays mass media that has been transforming itself into not more than a disgusting "corong penguasa" (penguasa means not only the government but also filthy stinking rich "evil, bloodsucker" corporate owner). indonesian people should know about this information, not only being blind-folded by "objectively fake" corong penguasa. enjoy your reading 🙂
in 1967, richard nixon said of indonesia: 'with its 100 million people and its 300-mile arc of islands containing the world's richest hoard of natural resources, indonesia is the greatest prize in south-east asia.' thirty years later, the world bank described the dictatorship of general suharto as 'a model pupil of globalisation'.
as you fly into jakarta, tha capital, you see a city ringed by vast walled and guarded compounds. these are known as export processing zones, or EPZs, and enclose hundreds of factories that make products for foreign corporations: the 'designer-look' clothes that people buy in a british high street or a shopping mall in america and australia. posing as a london fashion buyer, i was given a tour of one such factory, which made clothes for the gap company, based in san fransisco. i found more than a thousand mostly young women working, battery-style, under the glare of strip lighting, in temperatures that reach 40 degrees centigrade. the only air-conditioning was upstairs where the taiwanese bosses were. what struck me was the claustrophobia, the sheer frenzy of the production and a fatigue and sadness that were like a presence. the faces were silent, the eyes downcast; limbs moved robotically. the women had no choice about the hours they had to work for little more than a dollar a day, including a notorious 'long-shift': thirty-six hours without going home. and these are the 'lucky ones': in the 'model pupil of globalisation', 36 million people had no work.
suharto's seizure of power in 1965-66 was critical to indonesia's conversion to world bank model pupil. his onslaught on the popular movements that supported the deposed president sukarno led to what the cia called 'the greatest massacre of the second half of the twentieth century'. up to a million people were slaughtered. military equipment, logistics, intelligence and propaganda were secretly supplied by the united states and britain. royal navy warships escorted suharto's troop carriers. none of this was reported at the time.
moreover, according to cia operations officers i interviewed, the suharto terror provided another 'mode'-for the american-backed overthrow of salvador allende in chile seven years later, and for 'operation phoenix' in vietnam, whose american-run death squads assassinated up to 50,000 people. at this time of writing, a similar campaign is planned to combat the resistance in american-occupied iraq.
thus, nixon's 'greatest prize' was won, and its booty handed out in the most spectacular fashion. in 1967, the time-life corporation sponsored an extraordinary conference in geneva which, in the course of three days, designed the 'globalisation' – corporate takeover – of the world's fifth largest nation. all the corporate giants of the west were represented: 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. they were lead by arguably the most powerful capitalist in the world, david rockefeller. across the table were suharto's men, known as the 'berkeley mafia', as several had enjoyed US government scholarships at the university of california in berkeley. they were eager to comply; the spoils would be divided with the new dictatorship they represented.
on the second day of the conference, the entire indonesian economy was carved up, sector by sector. one room was allotted to mining, another to services, others to light industry, forestry, banking and finance. the freeport company got a mountain of copper in west papua. an american and european consortium got west papua's nickel. the giant alcoa company got the biggest slice of indonesian bauxite. a group of american, japanese, and french companies got the tropical forests of sumatra, west papua and kalimantan. a foreign investment law, hurried on to the statuses by suharto, made this plunder tax free. real, and secret, control of the indonesian economy passed to the international governmental group on indonesia (iggi), whose principal members were the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, and the international monetary fund and the world bank. 'the profit potential,' celebrated a wall street investors' report, 'fairly staggers the imagination.'
the then british foreign secretary, michael stewart, spoke of the 'great potential opportunities to british exporters'. a foreign office report lauded the 'potentially rich market' now that the economy has been brought under control'. other euphemisms for mass slaughter abounded.
…continued tomorrow with curtis passage
i also bought three other books yesterday. i'm so happy to read and especially buy books again, after previously "puasa beli buku" for a long period of time. why can't i abandon my desire to own (a.k.a. buy) books which is interesting for me, regardless the price? how can i afford them? 😛 at least i'm glad they hadn't disappointed me … yet.
cover of indonesian edition: