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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Was Obama’s Mama a Spook?

March 1, 2009

Yes, I said it.  Do I have your attention?  Spook. From Merriam-Webster, ghost, undercover agent or spy.  Tip of the hat to Cinie’s World (2-27-09). An interesting post by this blogger, donning a tinfoil chapeau and heading where the bread crumbs crumble caused me to rush to my own way back machine to take a look at the  political connections of Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, aka S. Ann Dunham, Ann Soetoro, S. Ann Dunham Sutoro.

Obama’s maternal line, the Dunham family has been dredged ad nauseum by Obama in his two autobiographies, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope. It has been discussed and analyzed by the MSM, in an effort to “acquaint” the electorate with a portrait of a non-threatening biracial man, palatable scion of an all-American, middle class family, roots planted firmly in the American mainstream. However, it seems the frequency of the retelling of Obama’s family story ensures only a repetition of a superficial, shopworn, schmaltzy story; a short-on-facts narrative of struggle courage, racial confusion, family contradictions  and mother love.  There’s a de rigeur narrative around Obama’s maternal grandmother but since she refused to give any interviews and is now  deceased, much is unknown.

Let’s go back to the early 1960s, the height of the Cold War. The Dunhams moved to the state of Washington and enrolled their daughter in a “progressive” high school where she stood out from the other students as quietly mature, a quirky free thinker and proto “feminist”. Ann next studied anthropology at the University of Hawaii. There, in a Russian language class, she met Barack Obama, Sr., a polygamous and already married Kenyan Muslim. Six months later Barack Jr. was born.

Barack Sr. soon abandoned Ann to continue earning his economics degree at Harvard University, later returning to Kenya and employed by Shell Oil. At some point Ann was employed by the Ford Foundation.

The Ford Foundation is alleged to have had connections to the CIA. Current Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner’s father, Peter Geithner was:

director of the Asia program at the Ford Foundation, a New World Order operation. Peter Geithner oversaw the “microfinance” programs developed in Indonesia by Ann Dunham-Soetoro, Barack Obama’s mother. Geithner’s maternal grandfather, Charles F. Moore, was an adviser to President Eisenhower and vice president of Ford Motor Company.

See here. Ann Dunham went to work in the microfinance department headed by Geithner.

Skip ahead in time a couple of years to 1966. The U.S. has stepped up its involvement in the war in Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson is President. Civil Rights activists, from SNCC to women’s liberation, are exploding into the streets. Cointelpro has been reformulated to infiltrate and undermine such protests.  But here is where it gets weird, requiring a tinfoil hat.  S. Ann Dunham has been tagged by the political right as a leftist, even a communist. There is no evidence that I know of that links Ann Dunham to any civil protest organization, political group or foundation.

Instead, Ann Dunham married foreign student, Lolo Soetoro, a well-to-do Indonesian Muslim she met upon her return to the University of Hawaii and in 1966 moved with him and seven year old Barack, to a newly Americanized Indonesia, finishing the throes of a human rights disaster.  Ann made no comment about the  massacres that had taken place the prior year, but continued to catalog local crafts.  Barack was officially adopted by Soetoro and remained in Indonesia for two-four years.

Indonesia is the fifth richest nation in the world in natural resources. It has abundant supplies of natural gas, copper, nickel, and oil. It is also the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Sukarno, Indonesia’s communist-leaning leader, had been overthrown the previous year and been replaced by a western leaning general, Suharto. Here’s an excerpt of the article describing the events surrounding Sukarno’s fall.

The situation varied across the country; in some areas the army organized civilian groups and local militias, in other areas communal vigilante action preceded the army.[16] The most widely accepted estimates are that at least half a million were killed.[17] Many others were also imprisoned and for the next ten years people were still being imprisoned as suspects. It is thought that as many as 1.5m were imprisoned at one stage or another.[18] As a result of the purge, one of Sukarno’s three pillars of support, the Indonesian Communist Party, had been effectively eliminated by the other two, the military and political Islam, although of the two, the military were in the position of unchallenged power.  According to Amnesty nternational, life went from bad to worse for the peasants of Indonesia.

Ann’s new husband, Lolo Soetoro, an army geologist, went to work for Mobil oil. Ann had one more child, Maya. Soetoro, a devout Muslim, wanted more children. Ann wanted to continue her work teaching English and to continue her anthropological studies. She returned to Hawaii with Barack and worked toward her PhD. Years later she returned to Indonesia to complete work on her dissertation. Barack, now a teenager, chose to remain in Hawaii.

Here there is a muddle. It isn’t clear to me, from anything I have read so far, what Ann Dunham Soetoro did for a living during this and subsequent trips other than teach English, or catalog native handicrafts. This is what confuses me: if Ann Dunham was a “leftist” and the Ford Foundation would certainly have been aware of her background, why would they hire her to work in a sensitive position? Would she, as a leftist, been willing to reside in a country that had just massacred hundreds of thousands of other leftists? Would she be willing to live with a former army landowner returning to a position with Mobil Oil?  Would she have two husbands who worked for oil companies?

Jump into the time machine again, and reset it to 1986. Ronald Reagan is the U.S. president. G. H. W. Bush is the V.P.  The White House is embroiled in the Iran-Contra affair. Here’s an excerpt of the article, describing other middle eastern the political complications involved in this scandal:

It began as an operation to improve U.S.-Iranian relations, wherein Israel would ship weapons to a relatively moderate, politically influential group of Iranians; the U.S. would then resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of six U.S. hostages, who were being held by the Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah. The plan eventually deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages.

The Russians remained mired in Afghanistan battling the Mujahadeen following their invasion of that country in 1980. 1986 was the year that the Afghan branch of the Taliban established hegemony in Afghanistan with the help of  Taliban operating in Pakistan. This is the year Ann Dunham arrived in Pakistan. This is also the year Osama Bin Laden was given sanctuary in Pakistan.  An Dunham Soetoro worked for microfinance departments of USAID, underwritten by the CIA.

Once again, the U.S. (as it had in indonesia) backed Islamic fundamentalists against communism. And, once again, Ann was employed as a USAID bank specialist in “microfinance” for poor women. I don’t know Ann Dunham’s level of skill in reading and speaking Russian, but there is an odd convergence for her

trip with her young daughter along the Silk Road in 1986 and

  • Russian language studies,
  • work for the Ford Foundation and USAID (also widely believed to be connected to the CIA)
  • work financing projects for poor women in an exceedingly volatile anti-American period
  • a detailed knowledge of Islamic cultural norms.

Not only was this dangerous duty, but must have been perhaps more hazardous  for a white Western woman in  fundamentalist Pakistan. Again, the same question: If Ann Dunham was a known and unrepentant leftist would USAID have hired her to perform services under these sensitive conditions?  Would the Ford Foundation have hired her and employed her for years as she cataloged handicrafts?

Back to the time machine. Reset the time machine backward to 1981. Barack Obama, Jr., before he moves on to Harvard University, travels to Pakistan to “visit friends”, although travel to Pakistan for American citizens is severely restricted. Does he travel on an American or an Indonesian passport?

I am puzzled by Ann Soetoro’s arrival in Indonesia and Pakistan during these very turbulent years.  This contact with two very divergent countries, and her son’s travel there in 1981 raise my eyebrows.  Maybe something there, maybe not.  Security conditions for a woman and a small girl child seem questionable. Here’s an excerpt from Windfalls of War

For 10 years, the Center received most of its Afghanistan education project funding from USAID. But after Congress ended government-sponsored aid to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, USAID stopped funding the Center. Still, it wasn’t without funding for long.

In 1997, Unocal, an American oil company, stepped in with an offer.

Unocal hoped to facilitate a business relationship with the Taliban in order to promote a natural gas pipeline project. The company was the development manager for the seven-member Central Asia Gas pipeline consortium that also included Saudi Arabia’s Delta Oil, Indonesia Petroleum, three other companies and the Turkmenistan government.

Unocal offered the Center an up-to-two-year contract worth as much $1.8 million to train Afghan men to build pipeline, which would run from Turkmenistan through a Taliban-controlled portion of Afghanistan to Pakistan, where it would be marketed. The pipeline could also be extended into India.

Well, both of Obama’s father figures were oil men.  Obama’s peculiar mixture of corporatism, pragmatism and tolerance for a weird combination of rightist and leftist political thinking come from somewhere.

Whatever Ann Dunham Soetoro thought about two of the huge political theaters of our time, she said nothing.

Jump ahead in the time machine to Obama’s sojourn at Harvard, his father’s alma mater, home of east coast movers and shakers, his do nothing tenure as editor of the Harvard Law Review and his selection as go-to guy by some of the biggest and most powerful investment bankers in the world.  But that’s another story.