I just noticed that I never linked to NPR’s interview and Democracy Now’s interview with Jeff Sharlet on the subject:
Democracy Now Interview:
JEFF SHARLET: The Family began as this domestic organization way back in the 1930s, a union-busting organization. But by the ’50s, they—
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, union-busting organization?
JEFF SHARLET: Oh, they—it’s part of that invisible hand of the market. They believe that organized labor is ungodly, to put it mildly, perhaps Satanic. It began with this vision in 1935 that the New Deal and organized labor were literally a Satanic conspiracy they had to fight back.
In the 1950s, in the Cold War, they started moving overseas and identifying strongmen, dictators, who they thought were effective in the fight against communism, who they thought were effective in the fight for free markets. And Suharto was one of those men. You know, Suharto, who—even the CIA, which helped him orchestrate his coup, later said it was one of the worst mass killings of the twentieth century.
The Family leaders called it a spiritual revolution and began sending delegations of congressmen, oil executives, over to meet with Suharto. They then hosted Suharto, actually, in the United States Senate for a Senate prayer breakfast with their members, to which they invited the then-Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They have that kind of access. And they were able to arrange that kind of reach for Suharto. And they effectively became his most persuasive champions within the US Congress, as the United States funneled, as we know, just billions of dollars toward his military regime.