From the Archive: Let Us Not Praise the Late Richard Holbrooke

200,000 Skeletons in Richard Holbrooke’s Closet

by Sunil K. Sharma / December 18th, 2010

[Editor’s Note: Another errand boy for the empire has passed. Richard Holbrooke, the Obama Administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan and a veteran diplomat, died last Monday. True to form, the mainstream press has been falling over itself in canonizing “The Bulldozer”, as he was called. The saintly glow that frames the man’s name in the media’s outpouring of adulation masks the dark diplomat’s terrible misdeeds through administrations Republican and Democratic. The following article was written over 11 years ago, and it explores a little known chapter in Holbrooke’s career that doubtless will be passed over by corporate media.]

200,000 Skeletons in Richard Holbrooke’s Closet
by Sunil K. Sharma
March 22, 1999

Much ado has been made in the press and academic discussions about how Richard Holbrooke has been a force for peace in the Yugoslavia imbroglio. The reality behind Holbrooke’s activities in the former Yugoslavia has been excellently exposed in recent issues of Covert Action Quarterly and elsewhere by journalist and Yugoslavia expert Diana Johnstone.

A little known chapter in Holbrooke’s career in the US government is his complicity in Indonesia’s campaign of genocide against East Timor. Holbrooke was head of the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs during the Carter Administration. On December 7, 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, which it continues to occupy today, killing over 200,000 Timorese in the process, approximately 1/3 of the pre-invasion population. The US supported Indonesia in ways that are already well known; there is no doubt that the invasion, ongoing occupation, and genocide could not have been possible without US support.

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