Monday, January 28, 2008

Little on the Iraq War

In yesterday's "And the war drags on . . ." this is noted:

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Saturday home invaision (Ahmed Jwad Hashim's home) in which the husband, wife and two children (daughter and son) were slaughtered and an armed clash outside Baquba today in which two police officers were wounded.

In the New York Times today Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Ahmad Fadam's "No Survivors After Night Attack At Home of Baghdad Ex-Official" opens with that and notes yesterday's announcement of the deaths of 2 US soldiers, the five women kidnapped, and that's basically it. It is the only story filed from Iraq in the paper (appears on A6) and it is very brief.

In Baghdad today, Reuters reports the "central bank building" was "engulfed" in flames and "the fire badly damaged the top four floors of the six storey building". In addition, Reuters reports that a Baghdad roadside bombing has claimed 3 lives and left ten more injured today and that Saturday saw the Baghdad death of another US collaborator belonging to an 'Awakening' Council.

Changing topics and locales, we'll note this from ETAN:

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) on the Death of Suharto
Contact: John M. Miller +1/718-596-7668

Accountability for Suharto's Crimes Must Not Die With Him

Indonesia's former dictator General Suharto has died in bed and not
in jail, escaping justice for his numerous crimes in East Timor and
throughout the Indonesian archipelago. One of the worst mass
murderers of the 20th century, his death tolls still shock:
* 500,000 to one million Indonesians in the aftermath of his 1965
seizure of power;
* 100,000 in West Papua;
* 100,000 to 200,000 in East Timor, which his troops illegally
invaded in 1975;
* tens of thousands more in Aceh and elsewhere.

Suharto also accumulated an appalling legacy of corruption - 15 to 35
billion dollars stolen by him and his family.

Suharto has avoided personal accountability for the genocide,
destruction and corruption he inflicted upon those he presumed to
rule. However, the generals, cronies and family members who carried
out his orders via massacre, torture and theft must not get off so
easily. Those who murdered and pillaged on behalf of Suharto and his
"New Order" regime must be brought to justice.

We cannot forget that the United States government consistently
supported Suharto and his regime. As the corpses piled up after his
coup and darkness descended on Indonesia, his cheerleaders in the
U.S. welcomed the "gleam of light in Asia." In the pursuit of
realpolitik, U.S. administration after administration, fully aware of
his many crimes, provided military assistance and hardware, training
and equipping Suharto's killers. The Indonesian dictator sought and
received U.S. approval before he launched his invasion of East Timor;
ninety percent of the weapons used in this illegal attack came from the

In the face of broad domestic opposition as his "economic miracle"
had collapsed in 1998, he finally stepped down. But only after U.S.
Secretary of State Albright hinted he should do so, even as the White
House insisted she was not calling on the U.S.-backed dictator to
"step down now."

Persistent advocacy by concerned activists from East Timor,
Indonesia, the U.S. and within Congress finally succeeded in
curtailing U.S. military assistance to the Suharto regime in the
1990s. After Suharto was ousted, East Timor broke free and the
Indonesian military lost some perks. Since then, military reform
efforts have stalled or been reversed. Suharto's favored military
still maintains substantial power. Its higher-ranking officers, and
powerful retired military, like President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
built their careers during his reign. The military continues to
violate human rights with impunity and in West Papua and some areas
operates by Suharto-era rules, restricting outside access and
employing terror in service of its commercial interests.

Limited investigations dealing with Suharto-era crimes have added
some information to the public record, but the few trials that have
occurred have largely failed, as defendants have lied, intimidated or
bribed their way to acquittals, crushing the hopes of the victims and
their families for justice or even an apology.

To overcome Suharto's legacy and to uphold basic international human
rights and legal principles, those who executed, aided and abetted,
and benefited from his criminal orders must be held accountable. The
U.S. must undergo a complete accounting for its role in backing the
dictator. As a start, the U.S. government must support for an
international tribunal to prosecute human rights and war crimes
committed in East Timor from 1975 to 1999, and Washington should
condition military assistance to Indonesia "on progress towards full
democratisation, the subordination of the military to the rule of law
and civilian government, and strict adherence with international
human rights" as recommended by East Timor's Commission for
Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.

A brief ETAN backgrounder on Suharto's life is at

This statement is also available in Tetum and Bahasa Indonesia. See

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