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"The current IMF 'rescue package' for Indonesia approximates the estimated wealth of the Suharto family. One Indonesian economist estimates that 95 per cent of the country's foreign debt of some $80 billion is owed by 50 individuals, not the 200 million who end up suffering the costs."

From: Forgive and forget - Washington did once. Reclaiming the remaining debts must be justified.
By Noam Chomsky - The Guardian Tuesday May 12, 1998



South News - special index on Indonesian crisis

ASIET, Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor

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Suharto the Butcher must go


Contrary to all expectations, student protests in Indonesia have increased in the face of severe government clampdown. The conditions attached to the Indonesian International Monetary Fund bailout have signalled the beginning of the end for Suharto, the father of half a million dead. As Suharto takes his place in a developing nation's conference in Egypt, students are spearheading the resistance against Suharto the Butcher and the International Monetary Fund.

Suharto the Butcher, the regions if not the worlds foremost exponent of crony capitalism (what belongs to the state is mine) is facing the first serious challenge to his rule in over thirty years. The rest of the country waits in the wings while Indonesian students take on the military machine. To date the reaction to Suharto's rule has been confined to student circles, in the last twenty four hours prominent Muslim opposition leaders have publicly articulated their opposition to Suharto and have demanded his resignation.

Although most Indonesians are not involved in overt resistance to the Suharto military machine, it's possible, just possible that the military will be unable or more likely unwilling to stop students challenging the legitimacy of the Indonesian military dictatorship. Suharto has become an embarrassment not only to his people, but the International Monetary Fund and world leaders including Bill Clinton.

The stage is set for the overthrow of the Suharto regime and the possible disintegration of the Indonesian state, an artificial colonial entity. Whether the I.M.F. and regional governments, including Australia and the United States are able to replace the Suharto regime with a government that's friendly to their objectives and the I.M.F.'s objectives is difficult to say. Whether the student revolt is embraced by the Indoenesian people and establish as a government that caters to their needs, not the needs of the corporate world, will depend on how far the revolt will spread. Either way Suharto the Butcher's days are numbered.

JOSEPH TOSCANO (Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society).
Anarchist Age Weekly Review Number 299 11th - 17th May, 1998.



The time has come for the Australian Coalition government to withdraw all support for the corrupt New Order regime in Indonesia. The overwhelming majority of Indonesians are clearly demonstrating to the whole world that they do not support dictator Suharto. Yet, the Australian government continues to give it legitimacy by providing political, military and financial support.

Today, for the first time in its bloody 33-year history, the Indonesian government faces a grave crisis_its end is in sight. The Indonesian people are determined to rid themselves of this dictator. For this chance to become a reality and more bloodshed avoided, the Howard government must act now and withdraw its support.

Australian governments, both past and present, have long been aware of the dirty record of the Suharto government.

All the world knows that Suharto came to power after a bloodbath in which at least 500,000 people were slaughtered and tens of thousands more imprisoned. At least 15,000 were imprisoned without trial for 15 years.

All the world knows that at least 200,000 people have died in East Timor, either killed by Suharto's military or from starvation, the result of the war of occupation. All the world knows that more than 200 people were killed at the Dili massacre on November 12, 1991.

All the world knows about the increasing number of political prisoners in the 1990s: Xanana Gusmao, Budiman Sujatmiko, Dita Sari, Wilson, Sri Bintang Pamungkas and Mochtar Pakpahan. More recently, Suharto has added new names to his list_People's Democratic Party (PRD) leaders, Andi Arief, Mugianto, Aan Rusdianto and Nesar Patria as well as dramatist Ratna Sarumpaet and her daughter and at least 200 others. Worse still, some of these figures have "disappeared", with the government and military denying knowledge of the kidnappings.

All the world knows about the corruption, cronyism and collusion that has helped Suharto and his cronies turn themselves into billionaire tycoons. Forbes business magazine estimated Suharto's personal wealth as US$16 billion. This has been financed by World Bank and IMF-approved loans since 1967, so that Indonesia now has a total official debt of some US$60 billion. Western and Japanese banks also dived in, lending crony companies another $40 billion. The current round of IMF loans are aimed at rescuing Suharto and the big multinational corporations in Indonesia.

All the world is bracing for the next massacre as Suharto tries desperately to protect his privileges. Now, when the results of bad economic policy, worsened by corruption, collusion and cronyism are causing economic havoc and the majority of Indonesians have rejected the regime, the Howard government refuses to break its ties with the regime.

Therefore we, the undersigned, demand that the Australian government stop supporting the Suharto dictatorship. In particular, we demand that the government:

  1. Withdraw recognition from the Suharto government;
  2. Refuse any further financial support to the Indonesian government;
  3. End all joint military exercises, aid and training with Suharto's military while political repression in Indonesia and military occupation in East Timor and West Papua continues;
  4. Demand the release of all political prisoners in Indonesia and East Timor;
  5. Stop trying to deport East Timorese refugees fleeing Indonesia's illegal military occupation of East Timor and grant them long-term residency visas in Australia; and
  6. Refuse to recognise any New Order administration (with or without Suharto), and only restore support to a government freely and democratically chosen by the Indonesian people.

Tel: 61-02-96901032 Fax: 61-02-6901381

email: asiet@peg.apc.org
Web Page: http://www.peg.apc.org/~asiet/

Free Xanana, Budiman, Dita Sari, Andi Arief and all political prisoners!
No military ties with Suharto dictatorship!
New elections in Indonesia now! Genuine referendum in East Timor!

Send donations to the People's Power Fighting Fund, c/- ASIET. Funds will be directed to the activists in Indonesia.

The previous statement has already been endorsed (as at 15 May) by Senator Margaret Reynolds (ALP), Senator Bob Brown (Greens), Katrina Curry (NUS Education Officer), Margaret Roadknight, David Bradbury, Max Lane (ASIET), Vince Jones, Bruce Petty, Ray Richmond (Wayside Chapel), Harold Moucho (FRETILIN NSW), John Percy (DSP), Colin Cooper (CEPU), Peggy Trompf (Workers Health Centre), Sean Healy (Resistance), Stephen Spence (SA MEAA), James Boyle (NSW MUA), Stephen Kelly (NSW Teachers Fed.), Bernard Griffen (IEUA), C. Cook (LHMWU), D. Kemp (LHMWU), Darryl Smith (MUA), Lisa McDonald (Green Left Weekly), Pip Hinman (Asia Pacific Womens Solidarity Network).

To add your name to the list, send an email to ASIET address above.


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Last Modified : May 16, 1998