US Intelligence Say Habibie “Right Type Of Person"

Published: Wed 15 Sep 1999 11:55 AM
Recently declassified documents from the US Commerce Department reveal the Clinton White House intelligence report on Indonesian President, B.J. Habibie. In the CIA’s opinion Habibe is "the type of official needed today in developing countries." Scoop West Coast correspondent John Howard reports.
Last night my computer printer was flooded with pages of now declassified documents and biographies of 21 individuals compiled by the US Department of Commerce as "trip reports" for US officials and corporate executives travelling to other countries.
Dating back to 1993, they included dossier's on Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Indonesia's President B.J. Habibie.
From the reports:
"Bacharuddin Jusuf HABIBIE" (Phonetic haBeebee)
"Habibie speaks excellent English and German, he has travelled extensively in the United States, Japan and Western Europe on technology tours. He enjoys swimming and listening to music. He and his wife Ainun - a physician - have a daughter and two sons; the latter both studying engineering in Germany. A brother Jusuf Effendy (J.E.) Habibie heads the Communication Ministry's directorate general for sea communications."
"Habibie was born on 25 June 1936 in South Sulawesi. He earned the equivalent of B.S., M.S., and Ph.D degrees in mechanical engineering from Germany's prestigious Aachen Technical Institute."
Habibie's intelligence report reveals that he worked as an engineer in Germany for Messerschmitt and, as Indonesian technology minister, wanted to produce 7,000 megawatts of commercial nuclear power by the early 21st century.
The documents outline that B.J. Habibie was picked by former Indonesia President Suharto to be president and director of the Indonesian Aircraft Industry, a position he still holds. He also headed Suharto's Agency for Strategic Industries placing him in charge of 10 state-owned industrial firms including state-owned PT Telekon, Indonesia's satellite TV system.
In 1994 the US and France were competing to place in orbit the Indonesian Palapa C TV satellite. A document dated 1 November 1994 accuses France of bribing the Suharto government in a fierce trade war over satellite launches for Indonesia.
The Commerce document noted, " There are also allegations that the French have paid "incentive money" to the Indonesians, but this cannot be confirmed."
Another documents states " General Dynamics is bidding to provide launch services for the new Palapa C satellite. The package to build and launch the third generation satellite is worth $300 million."
The document continues by noting, "The French Government in an effort to break a 20 year American monopoly on Indonesian launches, has been quite open in the support for the Arianespace launch programme."
"The General Dynamics Atlas launch vehicle appears to have the technical and cost edge over Ariane but the Europeans hope to gain advantage through political pressure, "freebies" and financing."
"We may have trouble coming up with a better financing offer through EXIM (Export/Import Bank) since the State-owned PT Telekon has just transferred the satellite business to a new public/private joint venture, PT Satelindo. The majority private interest in Satelindo is controlled by Bimantara, a
first family."
The Clinton/Gore administration reacted quickly to the allegations that the French were bribing Suharto by upping the ante with U.S. taxpayer money and a letter backing the deal from Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.
"Commerce strongly endorses the application. At the request of the Indonesian desk, IEP and TD/Aerospace are drafting a Secretarial letter of support for General Dynamics. Underscore the USG interest in General Dynamics winning the rights to build and launch Indonesia's Palapa C satellite."
Suharto got his satellite complete with CNN and pay-per-view TV and allegations are still being made that the US Democratic Party received substantial donations.
Another document from the personal files of Congressman Ron Brown states that Time-Warner sought and obtained Brown's help in an exclusive "recording" deal with Indonesia. Time-Warner now owns CNN and it would not be surprising to see CNN pick-up on the White House spin portraying Habibie as an innocent bystander in the East Timor crisis.
EDITORS NOTE: For more information on the sources used in the compilation of this story see…

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