suharto died but the his shadows of followers in corruption remain strong in indonesia
|Suharto is still the boss; Indonesia is now the most corrupt country in the world.
By Time Warner Getoutnow
Oct 11, 2007, 07:52
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Suharto’s salary by the time he was toppled out of office in 1999 was just US$1764 per month, yet he somehow managed to amass an estimated minimum $15,000,000,000; making him the world’s 6th wealthiest man in a nation where the average wage is not officially known (of course) but where Nike contractor worker’s earned just US 6 cents per hour at that time. How on earth did Suharto make all that money? Graft, corruption, extortion, theft! Generally in league with western governments keen to earn billions of dollars from Indonesia’s vast mineral wealth plus political anti-communist advantage in the region, while feeding their own citizens at home lavish servings of whitewashed, pious humble pie. Most of Suharto’s bent fortune actually came from foreign / International grants and aid.
Typically it seems, in return for exclusive and highly profitable mining rights to places like West Papua, Western Governments would pour aid into Indonesia for the betterment of the impoverished people there. At least that was the drool they fed their electorate, knowing all along that the money actually went to foundations and not so charitable trusts controlled by the Suharto’s and their lackeys. In addition foreign corporations generously paid the Indonesian Military (the TNI) for security services to protect them from the nasty mostly unarmed civilians in each region who wanted change and even independence, while western governments allowed military hardware sales and provided training to the TNI in order for them to murderously suppress the civilian population. These military hardware orders went through agents, the Suharto’s or other well / military connected families, for large commissions. Payments by the Indonesian “military” for the hardware too went through these same commissionable agents. The money sent to Indonesian foundations / trusts for aid, infrastructure projects, education, etc. would then distributed to where it was needed, mostly it seems the Suharto’s offshore bank accounts. Think of it in terms of an idiot tax paid by western citizens to their governments who gave the money to Indonesia to gain lucrative closed bid mineral contracts from Suharto’s government to the betterment of wealthy western shareholders, with Suharto et all in turn then robbing the Indonesian people of that idiot tax money. Of course, it was not just the money Suharto stole that inflicted economic misery on his people; it was the closed bid contracts which meant the true local and even national economic potential of say a gold mine was never achieved by the Indonesian people / state.
Under Suharto corruption became a mechanism for governance, as did the synonymous mass human rights abuse, like the murder of thousands of Balinese in 1966 while the west was chanting “Groovy”. Although corruption did nothing but harm for the country as a whole, it enabled very nasty, neigh evil people to amass vast fortunes. It seems ironic that Myanmar / Burma today is the world’s supposed Military Junta Enemy Number 1, yet it is very hard to see the difference between Burma and Suharto’s Indonesia; oh yes, we were forgetting Indonesia has greater mineral wealth and strategic importance plus Burma’s ally is China. Anyway, the UN and others confirm billions of whitewashed western tax payers money found its way into Suharto’s offshore bank accounts in payment for some of the west’s major corporations making their wealthy shareholders very rich indeed thank you. To this day results from Indonesian focused companies like BHP Billiton can and do turn around Australian stock market downturns.
As a result of poor governance and the Asian economic crisis, Suharto’s house of cards came tumbling down, or did it? After all those years of installing a pecking order of corruption with Suharto at the top, the very top was symbolically removed for a new era in Indonesian government while the old infrastructure pretty much stayed in place; perhaps we should call post-Suharto Indonesia the “Baloney Era”. During the Baloney Era (post 1999), Indonesia was suddenly a democracy, of sorts, except left wing parties were not allowed, religious (except Islamic) parties were not allowed, independent and regional parties were not allowed (Aceh’s leaders were allowed to form regional parties only as long as they came under the umbrella of a national party), pro-independence / separatist parties were not allowed, etc. The TNI (military) continued to state they were in fact the true rulers of Indonesia and that the Indonesian Government was just a civilian administration. The TNI aligned or rather controlled political parties Golkar (Suharto et all) and PDI (Megawati, Sukarno’s daughter et all), each full of ex-generals, dominated elections which were excessively rigged / fraudulent according to the monitors; although whitewashed as milestones in democracy by western governments. Jakarta learnt from the USA and others the “art” of “Spin” and “PR”, making strong statements about fighting corruption, even setting up corruption eradication commissions, plus hogwash about getting the TNI military out of politics and business. The TNI in business? Oh yes, they have to be, as they only get 30% of their expenditure from the government; so they run protection, booze, narcotics, prostitution and other rackets, as well as some legitimate(ish) businesses, sometimes in partnership with others; politicians for example.
In reality nothing except the verbiage changed. The separation of East Timor through independence from Indonesia proved the Indonesians and TNI were as murderous as ever; none of the Indonesian murderers were ever sentenced for their mass murders / genocide. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up by Jakarta is a perfect example of how they have learned the power of words and deliberately toothless bodies over real action, as the commission is boycotted by the UN because it seeks to allow pardons for all the Indonesian murderers. The Indonesian KPK or Corruption Eradication Commission proved to be yet another worthless PR act; only prosecuting ex-bankers who committed fraud, not corruption, and as a witch hunt mechanism between party rivals. With the KPK saying it could not investigate police officers or anyone at all in Bali because it did not have an office there, they showed their true mandate, or rather lack of one. The only time the KPK prosecute a politician or policeman is when they have no choice and the president says so; they never prosecute TNI members of course. One semi-effective Indonesian anti-corruption body, the corruption court was actually closed down in 2007 by the Indonesian House of Representatives, reckoned to be the most corrupt institution in the whole of the country, when the court got too close to powerful corrupt Golkar and PDI politicians; as if there were any other kind.
Under Megawati as president, corruption was reported to have spiraled. Yudhoyono or “SBY” as he is called was a minister in Megawati’s cabinet who left to form his own political party (PD) under the anti-corruption banner after a dispute with Megawati’s husband. In almost miracle fashion, SBY stood for the 2004 Indonesian presidential election with Jusuf Kalla (Golkar) as running mate and won amongst cries of foul (mass fraud) by the NGO’s monitoring that election. Despite the fact SBY and Golkar do not get along too well, mostly because Golkar was abusing their influence to get at SBY’s own politicians in his cabinet, it ultimately became obvious SBY had done a deal with Suharto and Golkar to become president in the first place. It was clear that Indonesia and the world were not ready in 2004 for another Golkar president so soon after Suharto, so Golkar decided second best (Vice President) was their best bet at the presidential elections. Soon after SBY became president he amazed the world (although we suspect not the White House, etc.) and non-Golkar politicians by pardoning Suharto of all criminal corruption charges. It seems apparent that SBY was handed the presidency via a fraudulently held election on that basis and thus showed Golkar was still the party of Suharto, not the other way around. It is a fact that criminal Tommy Suharto who paid to have a judge murdered, still gets invited to senior TNI events where all the officers have to bow to him.
Opposition in Indonesia to the pardon grew to the point the Attorney-General was forced to announce, wait for this, a civil case against Suharto for corruption. But not for all the money Suharto, his family and his minions are said to have extorted, oh no; a single and it retrospectively seems a very carefully selected and orchestrated single case of Suharto’s alleged wholesale extortion, which is becoming increasingly clear is bound, or should we say designed to fail. The prosecution in the case over Suharto’s Supersemar Scholarship Foundation is looking for US$440 million of the US$1,700 million they believe Suharto stole; yes, why are they looking for so little of what they say he stole? The Supersemar Scholarship Foundation is also pretty unique amongst all the foundations and charitable institutions Suharto is said to have created and bled in that it appears to be one of the few that actually still exists; the others presumably all went bust. So why did the Attorney-General not just only pick one case, but this particular one?
Enter the next chapter in this apparent farce when the carefully orchestrated students presently receiving scholarships from the Supersemar Scholarship Foundation demand to be included as a named party in the court case. What on earth says the world and even the prosecutor to his credit have the students currently receiving grants from this foundation got to do with any money Suharto stole from it years ago? Nothing of course, but that is not what the obliging scholars and Suharto’s defense team say, oh no; they claim that somehow the scholars could be hurt by this action, so they deserve to be involved, and also that they go to prove Suharto’s foundations were legitimate. Ah, so there we are! So the whole thing was almost certainly scripted from the start. When so many people and the International community got upset over Suharto’s pardon, a soap opera with Suharto coming out the hero at the end is what was needed. Oh no, the concluding episode has not been played out on film set (court) number one of the Supreme Court yet, but the script was likely written some time ago, so just wait and see.
Speaking of Indonesian Supreme Court soap operas staring and directed by Suharto, the Supersemar Scholarship Foundation was / is just one of two at around the same time. In 1999 Time Magazine did extensive research into Suharto’s corruption antics and business / Investment Empire then published the details of these; they estimated he handled US$73,000,000,000 of stolen / misappropriated money. Suharto did not like this published report and sued Time Magazine in Indonesia, and lost, and appealed, and lost, and appealed to the Supreme Court, and the case got buried / lost and everyone forgot about it. Then in September 2007 it was revealed in August 2007 a Supreme Court sitting was actually convened and upheld Suharto’s appeal, awarding him around US$129,000,000 in damages for defamation against his good name [sic] against Time. No-one could believe it, except those who know Indonesia better than the BS spoon fed majority perhaps. If Suharto did not wholesale rip off the Indonesian people and the world, how the hell did a less than US$2000 a month salary president amass at least $15,000,000,000? If Time Magazine had libeled Suharto, what the hell is the Indonesian Supreme Court going to do about the United Nations and World Bank? As days after the Time case was announced the UN and World Bank had put Suharto at the very top of the list of the world’s highest-earning (defrauding) political leaders accused of stealing state assets; they estimate as much as US$42,000,000,000. What a joke? Yes, but a very sick one given it is the reality of Indonesia today. The only appeal open to Time Magazine in Indonesia is a judicial review, which is not exactly an easy thing to get done. Our earnest advice to Time and every foreign business in Indonesia that does not make so much profit they do not care about such things is “Stay the hell away from Indonesia and let Suharto and his cronies sing for their supers!”
The award shows exactly what we believe to be true though, that the mechanism still exists and as the Suharto’s built that mechanism, so they still ultimately control it. All the PR and Spin put out by SBY and the other Jakarta hacks is slowly crumbling away. Corruption can not be measured accurately because of its nature; you don’t have people lining their personal bank balances declaring how much money they are stealing of course. So corruption is measured by “perception” by business leaders around the world and then calculated by Transparency International. Of course, when SBY came to “power” on a ticket of fighting corruption without anyone seeing the strings of the puppet master above, when he formed corruption eradication commissions and more, the perception of corruption in Indonesia went down; Indonesia scored better. But now the realities of SBY AKA mini-Suharto are becoming abundantly clear, Indonesia again is actually slipping further down the index and is now perceived as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
We believe Indonesia will go all the way, that it will soon ultimately reach the bottom of the corruption index. Why? Because the effect of the anti-corruption spin and toothless inept without a mandate KPK (Indonesian Corruption Commission) is still having a positive effect on perception; but it is eroding fast in the face of reality. And the reality is it is corruption business as usual in Indonesia. The UN’s former deputy director of investigations, Frank Montil, this month said that at least US$500,000,000 has been lost already from all of the money donated by the world for tsunami relief efforts; so all those well meaning people who donated yet more of their money after tax (including idiot tax) can sit back and feel warm at the fact bent officials in Indonesia have bolstered their offshore bank accounts. Mr. Montil was sent to Aceh as the senior UN corruption investigator and his frightening report just sat on the desk of the UN’s secretary-general for 8 months. As reported by us only a few weeks ago, Singaporeans joke that the number of Indonesian millionaires moving to their country doubled after the tsunami; newly created Indonesian millionaires moving that is to avoid the prospect of justice. While nearly 3 years after the tsunami, many people in Aceh are still living in yellow emergency accommodation tents without power, mains water or sewerage; the sewerage is clearly all centered in Jakarta.
It is apparent Suharto still runs the hate state of Indonesia and western citizens are still paying idiot tax so he and his minions can extort yet more from foreign “aid” and “grants”, while the only people that benefit are the extortionists in Jakarta and the major shareholders of the massive western corporations that steal from the Indonesian people and buy political influence with the politicians back home. If you are happy paying idiot taxes, may Saint George Bush the Second, the patron saint of big, questionably gained corporate bucks smile down upon and bless you. If you are not so happy, use the money you have to buy holidays and products that have nothing to do with Indonesia, and vote in your country’s own elections for the party that has a foreign policy, not foreign agenda. Please, help the Indonesian people and everyone else in the process, boycott Indonesia and the grinning political clowns that support them. Your holiday money and your vote is the most powerful thing in the world.