Kopassus: Obama’s “Reformed” Indonesian Killers

March 26, 2010

General Suharto-fascist killer and enslaver of millions

The U.S. supported, backed and armed takeover of Indonesia in the mid 1960’s by the fascist regime of General Suharto was always about the vast resources in the region including, petroleum, natural gas, copper, zinc, bauxite, etc, even gold.  Here’s what The New Statesman reports about Papua (New Guinea’s) gold reserves:

Hidden at 4,000 metres in the blue-black ranges of its interior, West Papua possesses the largest reserve of gold on the planet. In the 1998 annual report of the British mining company Rio Tinto plc, gold stocks in New Guinea are given as just over 19 million ounces. Rio Tinto has a 12.5 per cent shareholding in Papua’s Grasberg mine, plus a further 40 per cent share in its expansion. The mine is owned by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, based in New Orleans, whose gold reserves at Grasberg stand at 85 million ounces. Grasberg’s gold is worth $21.5bn. The mine is also the third-largest source of copper, with reserves of 32 million tonnes.

To this wilderness came Freeport-McMoRan in 1967, with the blessing of the Indonesian government. No mine on earth moves as much rock each day as Grasberg.

Kopassus Troops

Freeport’s first contract was signed with Indonesia in April 1967. Lolo Soetoro returned to Indonesia in 1966. The massacres of communists in Java began in earnest in 1966 continuing into 1967.

From Human Rights Watch’s facts about Indonesia:

Fact No. 3: Indonesia’s (current) president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, also has a close connection to Papua. Indonesia’s military commander in Papua in the late 1960s was Brig. Gen. Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, who had previously led a bloody military campaign against Indonesian communists in Java (See “Building An Elite For Indonesia”). He would later become the father-in-law of a young Army captain named Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Obama, in his first of two autobiographies, Dreams from My Father, didn’t have much truth to tell about his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetoro.  He never put Lolo or his mother, Ann Dunham, in context in fascist Indonesia. There was a reason for that.

Here, via the political editor of the Chicago Sun Times, the glossy but nebulous snapshot of Lolo that Obama wants us to believe:

Lolo Soetoro’s first name meant “crazy” in Hawaiian.

“But the meaning didn’t suit the man, for Lolo possessed the good manners and easy grace of his people,” Barack Obama wrote of his Indonesian stepfather in Dreams From My Father.

Obama wrote that Soetoro’s “tennis game was good, his smile uncommonly even, and his temperament imperturbable.”

Hmmm.  Aren”t these important details?  The same lovely things might be said of Obama himself. This sounds like a fairy tale. It Continues….

But Obama’s mother’s second husband did have his exotic side, which he shared with the young Obama during the years they lived in Indonesia.

“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chili peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy),” Obama wrote. “LIke many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”

Sheesh! Tell me more, especially the part about the tiger meat. I suppose a political editor for the Chicago Sun Times wasn’t interested in digging any deeper, either. There is little useful information in Obama’s accounts.

Soetoro worked for the Indonesian government and later a U.S. oil company before he and Obama’s mother divorced in the late 1970s. Soetoro died of a liver ailment in 1987 at age 51.

Is that it?  Time magazine also “covered” Lolo Soetoro and offered these tidbits in “The Story Of Barack Obama”:

He was easygoing, happily devoting hours to playing chess with Ann’s father and wrestling with her young son. Lolo proposed in 1967.

Lolo was a teddy bear.  Apparently, end of story.  But wait.  Wasn’t Obama writing about the period 1966-1971? Time Magazine says only that “The country was transitioning to the rule of General Suharto.” By “transitioning” the article must be euphemistically referring  to the aftermath of the overthrow of leftist General Sukharno and the massacre of perhaps a million communists and peasants by the army and militant Islamist jihadists. Bodies clogged the rivers and blood ran in the streets. Wasn’t Lolo Soetoro a colonel in the dictator Suharto’s genocidal military? Weren’t these the years that Kopassus, the Indonesian army’s brutal “Red Berets” invaded Papua on a mission to expropriate the vast wealth of the province and subjugate the indigenous population? Time Magazine describes Lolo Soetoro as “conscripted” into the Indonesian military.  I didn’t know colonels with important connections to the U.S. Embassy would be “conscripted”.
Obama’s drama alludes to his stepfather’s participation in the invasion of Papua this way:
In Jakarta in the late 1960s, a young Barack Obama noticed his stepfather’s great unease and silence about his one-year military service (how do we know this?) in New Guinea.
Obama, apparently, was aware that his stepfather was engaged in something dangerous.  From Human Rights Watch:

In his book “Dreams From My Father,” Obama asked Lolo, “Have you ever seen a man killed?”

Lolo was surprised by the question.

“Have you?” Obama asked again.

“Yes.”

“Was it bloody?”

“Yes.”

Obama thought for a moment. “Why was the man killed?”

Lolo answered, “Because he was weak. That’s usually enough. Men take advantage of weakness in other men. They’re just like countries in that way. The strong man takes the weak man’s land. He makes the weak man work in his field. If the weak man’s woman is pretty, the strong man will take her.” Lolo paused, then asked his young stepson, “Which would you rather be?”

Obama didn’t answer the question.

Lolo finally remarked, “Better to be strong.”

(Why do people accept this drivel from Obama?  Wouldn’t a child ask if he (Lolo) had killed someone? What were the circumstances of this conversation?)

East Timor Invasion

Obama, in his anticipated June  trip to Indonesia, will attempt to re-establish military cooperation, arms shipments and training to Kopassus.  This upgrade in relations will certainly please both the Indonesian generals and the  American Military Industrial Complex.This resumption of relations is based on the assumption that Indonesia’s military has not committed any recent atrocities, has changed its ways over the last few years.  Obama claims the Kopassus tiger has changed its spots. Kopassus has not changed its spots. Democracy Now! has spoken to journalist Allen Nain who has been under imminent threat of arrest for reporting on Kopassus’ latest acts of violence.

I’ve just come out with a piece that shows that the Indonesian army and Kopassus have been involved in a series of recent assassinations of civilian political activists. The piece names the names of the officers involved, including a Kopassus general named Sunarko. These assassinations were carried out in the region of Aceh in late 2009.

Filep Karma Papuan activist serving 15 years for raising the Papuan flag

Obama has given enough intriguing hints in his biographies and comments that we should realize Obama knows better than most, perhaps even more than Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Director of National Security, Dennis Blair, (accused of covering up a massacre at Dili, East Timor, to further a military training schedule) that the regimes in Indonesia are vicious, genocidal, corrupt.

Obama  is a neo-liberal globalist with fascist tendencies.  At this point he parades  in sheep’s clothing. Therefore, he has characterized the transfer of war material and training for Kopassus as U.S. assistance in the war against “worldwide Islamic terrorism” and a bulwark against Indonesia’s enemies in the region..  America’s Right Wing elements will cheer this decision.  But don’t be fooled.  Indonesia has no enemies in the region.  The “terrorists” are the military elite enlisting the aid of Islamic anti-communists to crush peasants, indigenous peoples so they can help themselves to the vast resources of the islands.

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Are Teabaggers Really Radicals?

March 19, 2010

President Barack Obama’s hand wringing and pathetic surrender to  Right Wing Republicans (aren’t they all Right Wing?) and Tea Party demonstrators might suggest that the Tea Bagger political astro-turf movement is a force to be reckoned with.  Maybe they are, but it’s sheer absurdity that anyone would believe these Glenn Beck and Faux News groupies are radicals.  Sure, they throw around fighting words like fascist, communist, socialist, and always confuse or conflate their meanings until the words become meaningless.

At Tea Bagger gatherings some of the protest signage suggests  Baggers want to take back -read overthrow- by any means necessary, (sorry Malcom X) the  current “Marxist” administration (the previous one was fine woth them) and its allegedly Islamo-fascist, Stalin wanna-be dictator, Obama.  Dumping Obama side-kick, “Madame Mao” House Speaker Pelosi, would be gravy on the potatoes.  What ruffians!! What patriots!!  Heaven forbid anyone should pay taxes.

Baggers have adopted some of the street theater of the 1960s, but the resemblance to that era ends there.  They are a two issue “movement”: more guns, less taxes. Period.

I came upon this article in AlterNet by Alexander Zaitchik.  He posits:

Where Did David Brooks Get the Bizarre Idea That the Tea Party Crowd Resembles ’60s Movements?

He points out:

The Tea Partiers, it is becoming fashionable to argue, are the heirs not just of the John Birch Society and the young Barry Goldwater, but also of Students for a Democratic Society and the young Abbie Hoffman.

Zaitchik easily debunks the notion, finding no factual basis for such a claim.

A real test of the Tea Bagger’s threat to the “system”,  as opposed to those of the actual 1960’s radicals changing  the American values, can be visualized in this comparative photo diary.

Let’s take a look at actual history:

Anti-Viet Nam War Protest

Black civil rights protest

police dog attacks civil rights demonstrator

A nice day on the Mall.  Not a bayonet in sight, unless the 2nd amendment crowd is carrying arms. Where are the police dogs and water hoses?

Tea Party Protests Obama administration "socialism"

How about these protests?

anti-Dick Cheney protest


protest at Chicago Democratic convention 1968

Tea Party protest

Where are the police?  The national guard troops? Where are the jack booted administration thugs? I don’t think I see any.  Where are the arrests at the Tea Bagger rally?  These people are obviously suffering, deprived of opportunities and well-earned comforts!

Kent State Massacre after war protest

Plenty of police here, bullets, billy clubs, dead protesters.

Orangeburg Black student massacre after civil rights protest

"Single payer" health care protester dragged away

Single payer" protester arrested

Baggers exercise 1st amendment right to compare Obama to fascists and communists

Gay protesters at "Stonewall" New York

suffragists arrested demanding the vote

I’m seeing a pattern here.

Surely, the evil government and the “system” want this Bagger radicalism stopped! Not!! Not even close.

Tea Bag Radicals?????  Any time protesters for single payer health care are hauled off and Tea Baggers can come to a protest with unconcealed weapons and threaten the life of a sitting president without police push-back, that must tell you something. Viva la protest!

Tea Baggers taking back America one tea bag at a time.


WHAT KIND OF SPECIES ARE WE, ANYWAY?

March 12, 2010

cross-posted at Lightpond

From CNN:

Federal authorities have charged a trendy Santa Monica sushi restaurant with serving whale meat — an investigation that was spurred by the team behind the Oscar-winning documentary, “The Cove.”     . . .

While it is considered a delicacy in Japan and some other countries, meat from whale — an endangered species — is illegal to consume in the United States.    . . .

“The Cove,” which exposes the annual killing of dolphins at a Japanese fishing village, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary on Sunday

And then there’s this:

The archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, is defending its decision not to re-enroll two children in a Catholic school in Boulder next year because their parents are lesbians.      . . .   “The Church does not claim that people with a homosexual orientation are ‘bad,’ or that their children are less loved by God,” wrote Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in an article to be published in Thursday’s edition of the Denver Catholic Register. Quite the opposite. But what the Church does teach is that sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong; that marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman.

Let me paraphrase:

Sexual intimacy is reserved for procreation.  It has no place outside of marriage. You can’t get married because you’re a homosexual.  We only allow kids of married people into our classrooms.

–love & kisses, the church

Ergo, gays & lesbians are screwed,  and so are their kids.  Because the pedophile-protecting Church has the last word on love.

Speaking of kids … I recently visited the Ty Warner Sea Center in Santa Barbara. Me and this kid were mesmerized by the beauty of the jelly fish and the jelly fish babies.  Did you know that jelly fish are also considered quite a delicacy – by other inhabitants of the sea?  Except, those critters who eat jelly fish often confuse our floating, discarded plastic bags for jelly fish.  So they eat the bags. And then they die.

Speaking of plastic bags … consider this:

The environmental damage caused by plastic bags is enormous. Plastic makes up 80% of the volume of litter on roads, parks, and beaches and makes up 90% of floating litter in the ocean (BEC). In every square mile of ocean there are over 46,000 pieces of plastic. This puts an enormous strain on the environment. The little pieces of plastic act as a sort of sponge for chemicals. They soak up a million fold greater concentration of such deadly compounds as PCBs and DDE (a breakdown product of the notorious insecticide DDT), than the surrounding seawater (Reusablebags.com). Marine life then eats these pieces and dies. It is estimated that over a 100,000 different birds, seals and whales die every year (Reusablebags.com). After the animal dies its carcass decomposes and the plastic is free to roam the ocean and kill again.


Of course, by the time whale meat ends up on a sushi plate in Santa Monica, someone’s already discarded all the nasty innards and the plastic therein.

The only time we get sober is when we consider that we are also an endangered species, and becoming more so by the day.

In less than a generation, the polar ice cap has already melted this much.

This just in from CNN:

Three strong earthquakes rocked Chile on Thursday morning, just as the country was swearing in a new president. A 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit at 11:39 a.m. local time (9:39 a.m. ET), followed by a 6.9-magnitude quake 16 minutes later, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. A third, measured at magnitude 6.0, came 27 minutes later.


Black People: Obama Is Just Not That Into You

March 8, 2010

African-Americans have a penchant for unrequited love  bordering on self-delusion when it comes to prominent or powerful Black male figures. I say Black male figures because I haven’t seen this corresponding tendency applied to errant Black females.  Quite the contrary. Usually, a sista can’t catch a break. Some of these men, whose sociopathic or anti-social actions are justified and defended by the Black masses against the outside (White) world have a sorry history of at least distancing themselves from, if not disrespecting the very people who give all of their love and support to a “partner” (read-a bad boy user who also happens to be Black) in exchange for a kick to the belly and a smack to the chops.  This propensity is dysfunctional in a relationship but, in the case where there is no relationship and the  “love object” wants nothing to do with them, downright pathetic.

A few examples that come randomly to mind:

Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods

Woods once told Oprah Winfrey that as a child he had decided he was “Cablinasian” — a mixture of Caucasian, black, American Indian and Asian. His mother Kutilda is from Thailand, his father is an American of multiple ethnic backgrounds.

Black people I know refer to Tiger as a great “Black” golfer. Apparently, Tiger didn’t get the memo. He feels the need to subdivide his father’s race into White, Indian and Black to feel comfortable.  Doesn’t he know having a racially mixed genetic heritage is as common as dirt in the USA and does not necessarily improve one’s standing with the dominant group? You can be sure, on the segregated courses of Augusta, Georgia nobody asked if pops had some White blood.

Most Black people didn’t give a hoot about golf until Tiger came along.  Tiger returns the embrace by having nothing to do with Black people and their causes.  It’s clear, for all his peccadilloes,  Tiger has zero interest in Black women… so why the indignation over his self-immolation?  Why not wrap our big black arms around the terrific Williams sisters, for instance, tennis stars that still reside in Compton, for crying out loud? Let the “brother” go, he’s not that into you.

O.J. Simpson.

Did it really matter if he did it? I doubt it.  Some people would have voted “not guilty” if they had watched him do it on video tape.  The issue was always to get behind the “brother”, no matter what.  Would it have mattered if the victims were his Black wife and her good friend?  I doubt it.  Except in that instance I wonder if the case would have made it to trial.

It’s too bad for Simpson that a new and very potent love drug was available by the time he was arrested for theft and brandishing a gun or whatever.  The Black public had lost interest, they had Barack Obama. Hardly a whimper was heard as O.J. was shuttled off to the penitentiary for the rest of his natural life.  Well, he was really never into you, either.

SCJ Clarence Thomas.

No more egregious case can be made for dysfunctional racial love  than this man.  His entire career has consisted of Uncle Tom-ing, from his clerking with  racist Missouri Senator Danforth to his nomination by GHW Bush to take the “Thurgood Marshall seat” on the Supreme Court.

Anita Hill

I personally recall the vociferous popular divisions over the appointment of this mediocre sell-out, married to a lobbyist for Dick Armey, when he declared that he was the victim of a “legal lynching” for having to answer questions regarding the sexual harassment of professor Anita Hill (wasn’t she a “bitch” to air the dirty laundry?). Who can forget this ridiculous rant? From the same Wiki article:

This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.
Oh, pleeeeeeze!!!!

Until that moment Thomas couldn’t have run fast enough to shed his Black identity and re-configure Black history to suit himself.

I remember being shocked (considering Thomas’ record) at the breakdown of supporters and objectors at his senate confirmation hearing: White conservatives, Black men and women for Thomas and virulently against Anita Hill (wasn’t she a bitch?).  White liberals and women against his confirmation.  Amazing.  Well, Black folks saved the “brother” and they will have Hell to pay for another generation.

I thought I would hear some regret about Thomas from the Black chorus, now that he’s proved himself to be one of the worst anti-Black bigots ever to mar a seat on the Court..  But no, our disappointment will be a secret, we have to cover for the “brother”. Release him, he is definitely not into you.

Barack Obama with Rick Warren

Last, but certainly not least, how about President Barack Obama? Ummmmm. I want me some of that Black president! Is he enigmatic, or what? And I don’t mean enigmatic in a good way.

Since his beginning the world has been Obama’s oyster:  fancy private schools, from middle school to Harvard, allegedly on scholarship. Every opportunity has been foisted upon him, like it or not, and he has been free to choose between a cornucopia of opportunities, selecting the best and most lucrative with the aid of a White power structure that bent over backward to give this racial and political chameleon rewards that even more deserving Blacks could never hope to receive.  With little personal effort his career has been almost  magical (despite his rhetoric he was always a “safe”, even passive Negro) He had his proxies declare that liberal Democrats who opposed him were racists while he decried the “racist” charges, keeping his hands clean.  On MLK day 2008 he alone was able to go to Indianapolis and pretended to be Bobby Kennedy, to show the white folks he could keep a lid on Black anger, while promising nothing. Finally, a conservative political figure who could ignore the Black and progressive agendas and by virtue of rhetoric and skin color alone reaping no negative consequences.

He has dared to tell us Ronald Reagan was right, that Reagan’s monstrous, profligate, corrupt government was successful,that we need to curb the “excesses” of the 1960’s.  Has he forgotten, this self-proclaimed son of the civil rights movement (whatever that means), that the “excesses of the 1960’s” made his candidacy possible?

Obama made us think we had arrived by virtue of his arrival.  Well, the truth is out. After 14 months in office it is clear that Obama will steer clear of Black demands and appear with us only to showcase a demeaning and public lecture on our shortcomings, failures. O.K., tough love, you say, for “his” people, chiding them for errors no one else can.  But where’s the tough love for his other peers, banksters, and torturers, warmongers and war profiteers?  Would he dare to chide his “other” people, the White ones, for the same things? Obama will tell you he has no agenda for Black people, he is the President of the United States and therefore can’t address our particular needs, even though White presidents such as FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, and others have done it, so, i.e., Danny Glover, kiss my a$$.

In these ways he will sink all boats, especially, the little Black dinghy drifting in the hurricane:

1. Hundreds of billions for zombie banks and financial squids.  Very little on the table for financial reform.  Many Blacks are included among those who’ve lost their homes to predatory lending and inflated asset prices.

2. Continuation and expansion of multi-front unjust, imperial wars against “terrorists”.  Nation busting, nation building, on and on, forever.  A trillion dollar expenditure every year for the military industrial complex. Generally, Black people disapprove of foreign debacles, unless of course, a Black president is pursuing them. No nation can spend a trillion dollars per year without a catastrophic financial collapse.

3. Health care that contains no public option.  An expensive, mandated insurance buy-in that will crush working people without delivering actual health care. Obama, himself, discarded the public option.  Subsidies for ever-increasing premium can’t possibly keep pace.

4. Jobs.  Obama’s feeble $15 billion jobs bill/tax credit suspending the payroll tax for new hires won’t do much for furthering employment. The stimulus bill of 2008 will do little to address the structural failure and employment decline.  A Black jobs summit, held behind closed doors, most likely because the summiteers were Black.  What will it amount to?

5. So far, Obama has done little or nothing to encourage unionization, even though unions were part of the bed rock of his support, and unions have been the path to upward mobility for blue collar folk.

6. Education, which Obama claims can overcome Black structural unemployment.  And yet his program “race to the top” continues to privatize education, creating a class structure of charter schools that will favor Black people of his class instead, drawing off the best and better off without improving education for all.  If you think the public schools are bad now they will only get worse when the difficult and lower class children are left behind.

7.  Climate change and green jobs efforts that underwhelm even the cynics.  It will be nice having houses weatherized but that won’t fix unemployment or climate change.

He could do something to lift ALL boats but he isn’t into the little guy and he sure is not into you, Black folks.  Why should he do for Blacks? Wouldn’t you still be into him even if you saw the “brother” commit a murder on videotape?