Monday, March 14, 2005

PEOPLE POWER - CIA CONNECTION


Remember the fall of Marcos in the Philippines and the fall of Suharto in Indonesia?

Remember the fall of pro-Soviet regimes in Eastern Europe? Remember the recent changes in Haiti and Georgia?

There is a CIA connection.

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Mark Almond, lecturer in modern history at Oriel College, Oxford, wrote in the Guardian, December 7, 2004: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1367965,00.html

"As an old cold war swagman, who carried tens of thousands of dollars to Soviet-bloc dissidents alongside much better respected academics, perhaps I can cast some light on what a Romanian friend called "our clandestine period". Too many higher up the food chain of People Power seem reticent about making full disclosure.

"Nowadays, we can google the names of foundations such as America's National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and a myriad surrogates funding Ukraine's Pora movement or "independent" media. But unless you know the NED's James Woolsey was also head of the CIA 10 years ago, are you any wiser?"


People Power is usually about changing regimes to suit the American Military Industrial Complex.

As Almond states, "People Power is, it turns out, more about closing things than creating an open society. It shuts factories but, worse still, minds. Its advocates demand a free market in everything - except opinion."

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THE FALL OF SUHARTO AND THE CIA

In Indonesia, in the years 1997- 1998, there were riots in various parts of Indonesia. Sometimes these riots were aimed against the Chinese-Indonesians. Some riots looked spontaneous and some looked as if they had been planned. (http://www.insideindonesia.org/edit50/riots.htm)

Intelligence agencies

Back in the 1950s the British and American intelligence agencies had organised rebellions in various parts of Indonesia, in order to undermine President Sukarno.(http://www.westpapuanews.com/articles/publish/article_31.shtml)

The generals

In 1998 one of the key generals was Prabowo, son of Dr. Sumitro Djojohadikusumo, a former Finance Minister, said to have once worked with the British and the Americans against Sukarno. Prabowo had learnt about terrorism at Fort Bragg and Fort Benning in the US. General Prabowo and terror (http://yayasanhak.minihub.org/mot/Prabowo.htm) In May 1998, Prabowo was commander of Kostrad, the strategic reserve, the regiment Suharto commanded when he took power in 1965. Prabowo's friend Muchdi ran Kopassus (special forces) and his friend Sjafrie ran the Jakarta Area Command. General Wiranto, the overall head of the military, was seen as a rival to Prabowo.

The American Defence Secretary,
William Cohen, was in Jakarta in January 1998 and he visited both Prabowo and Wiranto. The CIA chief had also been a recent visitor to Jakarta. The CIA and the Pentagon were close to both Prabowo and Wiranto. (http://solidarity.igc.org/atc/emily75.html)

Students

At the start of May 1998, students were holding peaceful demonstrations on university campuses across the country. They were protesting against massive price rises for fuel and energy, and they were demanding that President Suharto should step down.
On May 12th, students at Jakarta's Trisakti University, many of them the children of the elite, planned to march to parliament to present the government with their demands for reform. The police prevented the students from marching. Some time after 5pm, uniformed men on motorcycles appeared on the flyover which overlooks Trisakti. Shots rang out. Four students were killed.

Riots of May 13-14

On the 13th of May there were reports of rioting in the area around Trisakti. President Suharto was attending a conference in Egypt and the military top brass went off to Malang in East Java to attend a ceremony.

On the 14th of May, serious rioting took place in the Jakarta area. There were no signs of any uniformed soldiers on the streets.

Deaths

Over 1,000 people died during these Jakarta riots, most having been burnt in malls and supermarkets but some having been shot or beaten.

Alleged involvement of the military in planning the riots

Father Sandyawan Sumardi, a 40-year-old Jesuit priest and son of a police chief, led an independent investigation into the events of May 1998. As a member of the Team of Volunteers for Humanitarian Causes he interviewed people who had witnessed the alleged involvement of the military in organising the riots and rapes.
(http://www.indonesia-house.org/archive/mei98/The%20Riot%20Pattern%20in%20Jakarta%20and%20Surroundings%20-%20Beberapa%20Pola%20dalam%20Kerusuhan%20Massa.htm) (http://www.asiaweek.com/asiaweek/98/0626/nat_6_indoriots.html)

A security officer alleged that Kopassus (special forces) officers had ordered the burning down of a bank; a taxi driver reported hearing a man in a military helicopter encouraging people on the ground to carry out looting; shop-owners at a Plaza claimed that, before the riots, military officers tried to extract protection money; a teenager claimed he and thousands of others had been trained as protesters; a street child alleged that Kopassus officers ordered him and and his friends to become rioters; there was a report of soldiers being dressed up as students and then taking part in rioting; eyewitnesses spoke of muscular men with short haircuts arriving in military-style trucks and directing attacks on Chinese homes and businesses.

There were reports of children being encouraged to enter malls and then of the malls being set on fire; there were allegations that muscular men with short haircuts had gang-raped little Chinese girls and then murdered some of them.

Suharto told he had lost the support of the military

Some of Suharto's former allies deserted him. Wiranto allowed students to occupy Parliament. Reportedly Wiranto reported to Suharto on May 20th that Suharto no longer had the support of the army. Suharto was forced to resign on May 21 and was replaced by Habibie, his Vice President.

The continuing importance of the military

Wiranto remained as chief of the armed forces. Wiranto's troops began removing the students from the parliament building.

One result of the May riots was that the military appeared to remain the power behind the throne. In 2004, General Yudhoyono became president.

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