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    War and Terror: Australian governments and state terrorism in Indonesia
    Posted on Sunday, October 20 @ 18:21:43 UTC
    Topic: Indonesia
    Indonesiaby John Pilger, Oct 17, www.pilger.carlton.com

    For 40 years, Australian governments have colluded with state terrorism in Indonesia. Now, the Bali outrage allows John Howard to distract attention from his hypocrisy

    The Australian prime minister, John Howard, says the atrocity on the island of Bali is "proof" that "the war against terrorism must go on with unrelenting vigour and with an unconditional commitment". What he means is that he will continue to perform his holier-than-Blair role as George W Bush's most devoted, if not universally recognised, foreign gang member.

    The Australian military is, in effect, an extension of the Pentagon. Australian ships operate with the American fleet in the Gulf, enforcing an embargo against Iraq which, according to the United Nations Children's Fund, has led to the unnecessary deaths of more than 600,000 Iraqi children. In Indonesia, Australians, together with their American counterparts, have secretly resumed training the Indonesian military, which, in the world cup of terrorism, is the undisputed champion.

    Al-Qaeda has been fingered in Washington for the Bali outrage. The script is unchanged. To Bush, Blair and Howard, the Bali bombing will be simply further justification for attacking Iraq.

    How truly bizarre the American enterprise of world conquest has become. First, there was the bombing of Afghanistan, the equivalent of bombing Sicily in order to eradicate the Mafia. "Terrorism" is the enemy; or as Python's Terry Jones remarked, "They're bombing an abstract noun!" What is clear is that the more bellicose Bush and Blair and Howard become, the more they place the citizens of their own countries at risk.

    Like a mouse perpetually roaring, Howard's warmongering has endangered every young Australian backpacking in those countries where his and Bush's provocations are welcomed by extreme groups. Since he became prime minister in 1996, Howard has renewed Australia's reputation in Asia for European exclusivity.

    This is tragic, for it is not long since Australia emerged from the cultural isolation of its notorious "white Australia policy" and appeared to express the confidence of the ethnically diverse society it had become. Embracing Asia became politically fashionable, and the old colonial fear of the Asian hordes falling down on Australia, as by the force of gravity, was rejected by many Australians, especially the young.

    Howard's openly racist policies have again begun to isolate Australia. He has deployed Australian troops against helpless, mostly Muslim, asylum-seekers on the high seas - more than 350 people went to their deaths in a leaking boat last year even though, as it has now been revealed, Australian military intelligence knew they were in great peril. He has imprisoned many of those who have reached Australia (mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan, the countries he claims to be "liberating") in desert concentration camps in conditions which, reported a United Nations inspector, were among the worst he had seen in more than 40 inspections around the world.

    Seldom a day passes when Howard and his inept foreign minister, Alexander Downer, do not utter vacuities about "the war on terror". The truth is that, for almost 40 years, Australian governments have played a significant role in colluding with state terrorism in neighbouring Indonesia. In 1965, the then prime minister Harold Holt joked about the mass murder that accompanied the seizure of power by General Suharto, the west's man. "With 500,000 to a million communist sympathisers knocked off," he said, "I think it's safe to assume a reorientation has taken place."

    During the long years of Suharto's dictatorship, which was shored up by western capital, governments and the World Bank, state terrorism on a breathtaking scale was ignored. Australian prime ministers were far too busy lauding the "investment partnership" in resource-rich Indonesia. Suharto's annexation of East Timor, which cost the lives of a third of the population, was described by the foreign minister Gareth Evans as "irreversible". As Evans succinctly put it, there were "zillions" of dollars to be made from the oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

    Such lethal hypocrisy was acknowledged by Australia's political and media elite only in the final spasms of the Suharto dictatorship. In 1998, the World Bank's "model pupil" finally collapsed beneath the weight of its corruption after short-term capital fled Indonesia, leaving 70 million people in abject poverty. Given the pressures on this sprawling, ethnically complex country, it is hardly surprising that extreme groups have found fertile ground, whatever their aims. To lump them in with the "global terror" of al-Qaeda serves to suppress, once again, the part that rapacious western interests have played.

    Today, largely unreported, the Indonesian military, with the tacit approval of the United States, Britain and Australia, is terrorising the populations of Aceh and West Papua. Most of the "human rights violations" in these provinces - the euphemism for state terrorism - have been part and parcel of "protecting" the American Exxon oil holdings in Aceh as well as the vast Freeport copper and gold mines and BP holdings in West Papua. Those who need a link between the march of multinational capital and state terrorism need look no further.

    One of the sacred taboos for western journalists and broadcasters is the terrorism of their own governments. Only when they recognise this and its pivotal role in the fate of much of humanity will they be able to report honestly the lesser terrorism of non-state groups.

    Research by Edward Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan covering the period since 1965 points to the killing of several thousand people by non-state terrorists, such as al-Qaeda, compared with 2.5 million civilians killed by state-sponsored terrorism. These include the violence of the South African apartheid regime, the Suharto regime in Indonesia, the "Contras" in Nicaragua and other American-backed terrorist states. This is a conservative figure, for it predates the deaths caused by the Anglo-American-driven sanctions against civilians in Iraq. As Neil Sammonds has pointed out: "When US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in May 1996 that the killing of half a million Iraqi children was 'a price worth paying' to keep pressure on Baghdad, she was acting well within any reasonable definition of terrorism."

    Those who committed the disgusting mass murder in Bali need to be caught and their organisation broken. But this is unlikely to happen while state terrorism is in the ascendancy, and goes unacknowledged as the most virulent menace of all - and as, in many cases, the root of non-state atrocities. A piratical assault on Iraq will be an act of terrorism by state extremists in Washington. It will also be the catalyst for years of recruitment of those willing to murder westerners in skyscrapers and nightclubs.

    St Augustine tells the story of a conversation between Alexander the Great and a pirate he captured. "How dare you molest the seas?" asks Alexander. "How dare you molest the whole world?" the pirate replies. "Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief. You, doing it with a great navy, are called an emperor."

    www.pilger.carlton.com

    Note: (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

     
    Related Links
    · More about Indonesia
    · News by ZeberuS


    Most read story about Indonesia:
    Bali Disco Bombing - Another US ''Inside Hit.''


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    Bali is a victim of 'with us or against us' policy (Score: 1)
    by davy (davy@notyet.com) on Sunday, October 20 @ 23:58:36 UTC
    (User Info )
    Indeed a confirmation of my fears post 9/11 US British-with Us or against Us policy. In short you're not with the new imperialism so you're an Al -Qaida.

    If at all the democratic process should hinder any government from the ad-hoc arbitrary demands by the chief lead in this Mc Carthyism Oop`s Rumsfield-Rice-Cheney-Dubya Co-operatism/era then they'll be bought-on-board.

    Although Malaysia and Indonesia were overly supportive Malaysia took the initiative in the so-called war on terror first Dr. Mahathir sanction and support in the bombardment of Afghanistan where thousands are killed and many more thousands of Muslim lives disrupted, then with the purchase of F18 jets from the US thus canceling an almost done deal with the Ukraine which was far better especially considering the interest of Malaysian Taxpayers. Then there was/is the fueling of US/British warships, ongoing exchanges and interaction of police personnel and information and the FBI, a new open-doors yet secretive policy of the Evangelical order, a hardcore fundamentalist US based movement now operating in converted warehouses and dysfunctional factories outlets and last but not least the detention without trial of political dissenters was also a dual-purpose instrument in Dr. Mahathir compromise toward the hegemonic order.

    Then came the US graciousness, fist was Dubya's refusal to meet for more than 15 minutes with Dr. Mahathir while on a visit in the US. Another meeting with the US President was rescheduled but only to Dr. Mahathir's regret he was rudely handled by US secret service agents "Rambo style" while in his aircraft. Sources alleged that the PM's bodyguards was forcefully disarmed and shouted down and body search, a blatant disregard of the rules and protocol afforded visiting heads of state and members of the diplomatic community.

    A few months followed and the Malaysian deputy Prime Minister along with his entire entourage was in for a further roughing-up in fact they were made to strip-off their dignity.

    As if nothing had happen less than a month after the incidents a request from the US intelligence for the demand of an American student studying at one of the local university in Malaysia was promptly obliged that further discredited the Deputy PM who according to most locals cow-tow to the cowboys in the North. Word in the street is - their leaders had bend over backward to please the US without any legal grounds or evidence from the US and soon they fear that the detention without trial act 'ISA' will be use against critics of US and British policy in the region and in the country.

    As though not satisfied the Far Eastern Review, the CIA fund magazine claimed that Malaysia was ridden with bombings suggesting that the country was unsafe for tourists and investment as if it wasn't enough Malaysia's ruling governing party was simultaneously accused in another British/Israeli based publisher the new 'Salman Rushdie' another peep-squeak - flight-by-night Asian intellectual on the rise, only this time bogusly aiming at Islam's hardcore secularist party rigged with a coalition that have no interest in Islam or its followers.

    "Hindus & Chinese" would like to see the backs of Muslims in the region and Malays and Indonesian are no exception. With the constantly growing evangelical missions in Malaysia especially amongst the BN coalition, one assumed that the gods were pleased.

    From a historical point of view Malaysian policy advisory seemed inept in anticipation of US interest and US friendship.

    Henry Kissinger once remarked that the US friends come and go but it's interest remains the same. This reminds me of the shark and the sardines.

    The way one look at the current happenings and relation between the creators and supporters of the al Qaida, one cannot help but notice the concerted effort toward destroying the economy (tourists industry) of Indonesia Malaysia and southern Philippine.

    All appearances are th

    Read the rest of this comment...




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