The Acts of the Democracies

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1975

Indonesia and East Timor

East Timor gains its independence from Portugal.

A few months later, Indonesia invades and occupies the tiny state, committing many atrocities. The Western countries remain silent during the invasion.

The USA president and Henry Kissinger (USA Secretary of State) visit Indonesia a few days before the invasion. The CIA reports that Indonesia is attempting to "provoke incidents that would provide [them] with an excuse to invade."

Over the next few years, up to 200,000 people are killed, a third of the population. Many villages are wiped off the map. Churches are destroyed or desicrated. The USA, Australia and the UK support the annexation.

The UK ambassador informs his government that "the peoples of Portuguese Timor are in no condition to exercise the right to self-determination."

Henry Kissinger affirms that "the United States understands Indonesia's position on the question [of East Timor]".

The Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, agrees that "the best and most realistic future for Timor was association with Indonesia".

The West continues to sell arms to Indonesia. Western companies, Woodside-Burmah, RTZ, BP, Britsh Gas and Britoil benefit from what they describe as a "favourable political climate".

After being tipped off about the invasion, Richard Woolcott, the Australian ambassador to Indonesia, decides that Australia should "leave events to take their course... and act in a way which would be designed to minimise the public impact in Australia and show private understanding to Indonesia and their problems..."

A radio transmission picked up in Darwin (Australia) describes the invasion:

"The Indonesian soldiers are killing indiscriminately. Women and children are being shot in the streets. We are all going to be killed... This is an appeal for international help. This is an SOS. We appeal to the Australian people... and to all the people of the world. Please help us..."

Philip Liechty, a retired desk officer of the USA's CIA in Indoinesia's capital, Jakarta, describes the events to Australian journalist, John Pilger:

"I saw intelligence that came from hard, firm sources in East Timor. There were people being herded into school buildings and the buildings set on fire. There were people herded into fields and machine gunned, and hunted in the mountains simply because they were there. We knew the place was a free fire zone and that Suharto was given the green light by the United States to do what he did. We sent the Indonesian generals everything that you need to fight a major war against somebody who doesn't have any guns. We sent them rifles, ammunition, mortars, grenades, food, helicopters. You name it, they got it. And they got it direct. Without continued, heavy US logistical military support, the Indonesians might not have been able to pull it off. None of that got out in the media. No one cared. No one gave a damn. It is something that I will be forever ashamed of."

After the invasion, Australia and Indonesia sign the Timor Gap Treaty splitting up East Timor's estimated 7,000 million barells of oil between them.

In the buildup to the invasion, five journalists and cameramen, are killed by Indonesian forces in Balibo. They are Greg Shackleton and Tony Stewart (both Australian), Malcolm Renee and Brian Peters (UK), and Gary Cunningham (New Zealand). Another journalist, Roger East, is killed while investigating the murders. The Australian and UK governments issue no formal protest to Indonesia and there is no enquiry into the deaths until 1996.

© 2017, KryssTal


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