Ann Dunham Soetoro in East Timor, Indonesia

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post summarizing some of the information collected about Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham Soetoro, her work history and residence in Indonesia.  Following the bread crumbs of an important public personage who accrued a long career in public agencies shouldn’t be difficult, but it is.  Although the mother of the president has had a lot written about her much of it is as inconsequential and not revealing as this, mostly fluff beyond a brief summary of countries and agencies.  I have found little in the way of job titles, bosses names, verifiable projects, specific accomplishments.

One thing does stand out sharply, the absence of the mention by Obama or Soetoro or any of the “friends” that claim to have been intimate with the family, of one of the great massacres of the twentieth century. As far as I know the MSM has also been strangely incurious about the context of Ann Soetoro and Barack Obama’s Indonesian existence, although some must be of an age to remember the events. Reports confirm that at least 500,000 suspected communists were slaughtered by the Indonesian military and religious militias between 1965 and 1968, most between 1965-1966.  Up to 2,000,000 were killed and imprisoned between 1965-1975.  Obama’s autobiography, Dreams from My Father, speaks about his personal awakening to “cruelty” during his four year residence in Jakarta, but does not discuss mass murder, murder and political opression that must have been facts of every day life.  Ann Soetoro, an anthropologist, focused specifically on poverty and women’s issues, while working in rural areas, could not have failed to register the murder and disappearance of so many victims during and after Suharto took power.

Ann Soetoro lived many years in Indonesia under the Suharto dictatorship.  Her husband had been an army engineer and later a government liaison to Mobil Oil Co.  As such the family must have been well positioned and well off in the employ of the Suharto government.  Ann returned to Hawaii, allegedly for educational purposes, several times but spent most of her career in Indonesia.  However, between 1960 and 1999 Indonesia remained a subject of controvery due to its egregious human rights violations.  Ann Soetoro and Obama make no mention of these horrors.

In 1975  Indonesia invaded East Timor, a small former colony of Portugal, and oil producing neighbor state.  A pattern of mass murder and male gendercide was quickly established by the invaders.  The slaughter and the logistical support given to it by the Ford administration were denounced by the United Nations.  Hundreds of thousands of East Timor residents were forceably displaced into West Timor.

See the report and documentaton here.  Excerpt:

East Timor Truth Commission report uses declassified U.S. documents to reveal support for Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor from 1975 until U.N. sponsored vote in 1999

National Security Archive provides more than 1000 documents to East Timor Truth Commission after Bush Administration refuses cooperation

East Timorese youth being tortured and killed by member of the Indonesian military (Released by Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta in 1996)

“I’m assuming you’re really going to keep your mouth shut on this subject?”
– National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger to his staff in October 1975 in response to reports that Indonesia had begun its attack on East Timor.

Washington, D.C., November 28, 2005 – Today, East Timorese President Xanana Gusmão transmits to Parliament the final report of East Timor’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) on human rights violations committed in East Timor between 1974 and 1999, and the National Security Archive is making available to the public some of the more than 1,000 formerly classified U.S. documents that it provided to assist the work of the CAVR.

A report from the University of Hawaii where Ann received received her PhD. indicate that Ann Soetoro was living in West Timor during this period while she pursued cultural preservation of native weaving and Obama visited her there on his way to Pakistan in 1981.



3 Responses to Ann Dunham Soetoro in East Timor, Indonesia

  1. searchingfortruth says:

    Read books by John Bresnan, an author who worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia from the 60’s on.
    Now at Columbia U. (for past 20 years or so. Book on Indonesia published in 2005.

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