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Wednesday, December 29

Tsunami Another Manufactured Crisis?

Democracy Now! | Aceh: A Victim of Tsunami & Occupation; Will the Indonesian Army Use the Tsunami As A Cover to Continue Its Slaughter of the People of Aceh?

"The disaster is killing thousands in Ache but the Indonesian military has been doing that for years. Now activists fear the Indonesian military will use the disaster as a cover to further the killing of the Acehnese and that the Pentagon may use the disaster as an excuse to restore aid to the Indonesian military which was blocked after the military's massacre in East Timor in 1999."

But maybe that's just a bunch of wild-eyed lefty rhetoric.

The sheer devastation caused by tidal waves that swept through north Sumatra four days ago has finally forced the government to admit that its long-standing military offensive is no longer viable in Aceh.

“For the time being, practically speaking, the ‘civil emergency’ is no longer effective in Aceh because the province no longer has its local government. The provincial government has been taken over by the central government. The acting Governor, as the party in charge of daily affairs, will act in coordination with the Home Affairs Minister and a relevant director general,” said Vice President Jusuf Kalla at his official residence on Wednesday (29/12/04).

If the earthquake was manufactured, and if the province of Acheh was the earthquake's ground zero, then the Indonesian government no longer has to worry about the Timorese.

The death toll in Indonesia from Sunday's giant earthquake and tsunami has risen to almost 33,000.

Great tracts of land in Aceh province are still under surging ocean and at the moment there is still no word from many isolated communities.

However officials have warned the casualty figures would jump even higher - once contact is finally made with the area emerging as the quake's ground zero.

Nevertheless, it seems Bush has already found a way to capitalize on human tragedy by advancing more military aid to the Indonesian Government, something Congress has been dead against for some time now:


U.S. President George W. Bush said his nation has joined with India, Australia and Japan in a coalition to coordinate worldwide relief and reconstruction efforts.

He promised U.S. military manpower and long-term rebuilding assistance.

The best thing to ask in a situation like this is "Cui bono?" or "who Benefits?".

"Re-starting the lucrative Indonesia-U.S. arms pipeline and roping in a potential ally against what some in the Bush Administration see as their future competitor--- China---overshadows greasing the palms of local Indonesian military commanders. Indonesia could be an important link in the chain of bases and allies the U.S. is forging in Asia. Australia, the Philippines, Japan, and India have already signed up for the U.S. anti-missile system. The Bush Administration says it is directed at North Korea, but the Chinese are convinced it targets their small missile fleet."


The size and location of Indonesia make it a major actor in Asian diplomacy and politics, and for this reason the United States maintains a strong bilateral relationship with Indonesia and has been the lead sponsor of the recent international economic assistance. However, Indonesia until recently was an undemocratic country, with a poor human rights record. In addition, Indonesia invaded and illegally annexed East Timor in 1975. For these reasons, many citizens and members of Congress have opposed the United States’ role as a leading source of weapons and military training as well as millions of dollars in economic aid during the current crisis for the Jakarta regime.

. . .

Historically, the United States has been a leading supporter of the Indonesian military. The United States has sold $1.25 billion dollars worth of weaponry to Indonesia since 1975. The U.S. has also provided some for of security assistance virtually every year since 1950, including $388 million in grants and loans to pay for U.S. arms.

Contrast this with what the US is putting up in humaitarian aid:

Washington Times

"A United Nations official yesterday backpedaled from his claim that the United States is being "stingy" in its response to the Asian earthquake disaster after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell disputed the remark.
"The United States is not stingy," Mr. Powell said as the United States increased its initial package of disaster relief from $15 million to $35 million.
"We will do more," he added during a round of morning TV interviews. "I wish that comment hadn't been made." "

Read more on US-Indonesia Military ties here.

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