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Profile: Suharto


Positions that Suharto has held:

  • President of Indonesia (1967-1998)




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Suharto actively participated in the following events:


September 30, 1965      US-Indonesia-East Timor (1965-2002)

       A small group of Indonesian junior military officers loyal to left-wing nationalist President Ahmed Sukarno kidnaps and kills six senior army generals and announces the creation of a revolutionary council to rule the country. The officers, led by one of Sukarno's bodyguards, Colonel Untung, claim the killings were necessary to thwart an imminent, CIA-backed coup against the Sukarno government. This event is known as the “September 30 Affair.” [Sydney Morning Herald, 7/10/1999; Pacific Affairs, Summer 1985; States News Service, 5/19/1990] Interestingly, Indonesian General Suharto, who will take control of Jakarta the following day (see October 1, 1965), had foreknowledge of the attacks but did nothing to stop them. [Sydney Morning Herald, 7/1999 cited in World Socialist Website, 7/19/1999 Sources: Abdul Latief] Prior to this event, tension between Indonesia and the West were on the rise. Sukarno had earlier threatened to nationalize US oil assets. [Sydney Morning Herald, 7/10/1999]
People and organizations involved: Abdul Latief, Ahmed Sukarno, Suharto

October 1, 1965      US-Indonesia-East Timor (1965-2002)

       Indonesian General Suharto takes control of Jakarta one day after a group of junior military officers killed six senior army generals (see September 30, 1965). Suharto claims the killings were part of a Communist plan to take over Indonesia. For the next five months, he oversees the slaughter of between 500,000 and 1 million people, many of them targeted because of their affiliation with the PKI, Indonesia's Communist party. [States News Service, 5/19/1990; Pacific Affairs, Summer 1985; Sydney Morning Herald, 7/10/1999; Sydney Morning Herald, 7/1999 cited in World Socialist Website, 7/19/1999] During this period, Suharto is backed by the US, Britain, and Australia. The US embassy in Indonesia provides the Indonesian army with a list compiled by the CIA consisting of the names of thousands of Communist Party leaders who the Indonesian military hunts down and executes. [States News Service, 5/19/1990; Sydney Morning Herald, 7/10/1999 Sources: US Government documents relating to US-Indonesia relations from 1965 to 1967, Unnamed former CIA officials and US diplomats]
People and organizations involved: Suharto, Ahmed Sukarno

December 6, 1975      US-Indonesia-East Timor (1965-2002)

       US President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meet with Indonesian president Suharto in Jakarta and give him tacit approval to invade and annex East Timor. Suharto complains that the integration of East Timor into Indonesia is being resisted by Communist sympathizers. According to declassified US Government documents, Suharto tells Ford and Kissinger, “We want your understanding if we deem it necessary to take rapid or drastic action.” Ford responds, “We will understand and will not press you on the issue.” Kissinger then advises Suharto not to take action until he and the president have returned to Washington. “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly.” Kissinger explains. “We would be able to influence the reaction in America if whatever happens, happens after we return.” [CNN, 12/7/2001; Pilger, John. Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy.; BBC, 12/7/2001 Sources: Embassy Jakarta Telegram 1579 to Secretary State, 6 December 1975] The following day, Indonesia invades East Timor (see December 7, 1976)
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger, Suharto, Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr

December 7, 1976      US-Indonesia-East Timor (1965-2002)

       Indonesia invades and occupies the former Portuguese colony of East Timor. An estimated 200,000 people—roughly one-third of the country's population—will be killed in the violence and famine that follow. [Sojourner's Magazine, 9/1994; BBC, n.d.; Extra! 11/1993; Pilger, John. Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy.] The invasion was tacitly approved in advance by US President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the day before during a meeting with Suharto.(see December 6, 1975)
People and organizations involved: Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr, Suharto, Henry A. Kissinger

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