Born in Tears [East Timor],
excerpted from the book
by John Pilger
Vintage Books, 1993, paper
BORN IN TEARS [East Timor]
At Stanfords in London's Covent Garden,
reputedly the best map shop in the world, I asked for a map of
the island of Timor. 'Timor?' said a hesitant sales assistant.
'Would you please come with me?' We crossed the floor and stood
staring at shelves marked 'South East Asia'. 'Forgive me,' he
said, 'where exactly is it?'
'Just north of Australia.'
'Oh yes, of course.' After a search, all
he could find was an aeronautical map with large blank areas stamped
'Relief Data Incomplete'. More apologies. 'I have never been asked
for Timor,' he said. 'Isn't that extraordinary?'
Such is the depth of the silence that
has enveloped limo; or specifically East Timor, the part of the
island under an illegal Indonesian occupation since 1975. Other
places on the planet may seem more remote; none has been as defiled
and abused by murderous forces or as abandoned by the 'international
community', whose principals are complicit in one of the great,
unrecognised crimes of the twentieth century. I write that carefully;
not even Pol Pot succeeded in killing, proportionally, as many
Cambodians as the Indonesian dictator, Suharto, and his fellow
generals have killed in East Timor.
James Dunn, the former Australian consul
in East Timor and adviser to the Australian Parliament, has made
a study of census statistics since the Indonesians invaded. 'Before
the invasion,' he told me, 'East Timor had a population of 688,000,
which was growing at just on 2 per cent per annum. Assuming it
didn't grow any faster, the population today ought to be 980,000
or more, almost a million people. If you look at the recent Indonesian
census, the Timorese population is probably 650,000. That means
it's actually less than it was eighteen years ago. I don't think
there is any case in post-World War Two history where such a decline
of population has occurred in these circumstances. It's quite
incredible; it's worse than Cambodia and Ethiopia."
Where are all these missing Timorese?
The facts ought to be well known, but are not. As a direct result
of the Indonesian invasion and occupation, which continues, some
200,000 people, or a third of the population, have died. This
estimate was first made in 1983, by the head of the Roman Catholic
Church in East Timor, following an admission by the Indonesian
Department of Defence and Security that the civilian population
of East Timor had halved since the invasion. In 1993 the Foreign
Affairs Committee of the Australian Parliament reported that 'at
least 200,000' had died under the Indonesian occupation.'
Moreover, this figure has been secretly
accepted by Western governments, as the CIA operations officer
in Indonesia at the time of the invasion confirmed to me in 1993.
What in other countries would have been condemned and punished
as an act of barbarism and a crime against humanity has, it seems,
been quietly deemed acceptable. When pressed in an interview Gareth
Evans, the Australian foreign affairs minister, whose policies
have supported the Suharto regime, admitted that the number of
East Timorese dead 'is horrifyingly large'.
How they died has been Indonesia's and
its allies' great secret. Western intelligence has documented
the unfolding of the genocide since the first Indonesian paratroopers
landed in the capital, Dili, on December 7, 1975 - less than two
months after two Australian television crews were murdered by
the Indonesian military, leaving just one foreign reporter, Roger
East, to witness the invasion. He became the sixth journalist
to die there, shot through the head with his hands tied behind
his back, his body thrown into the sea.
As a result, in the age of television
few images and reported words reached the outside world. There
was just one radio voice, picked up in Darwin, Australia, 300
miles to the south, rising and falling in the static. 'The soldiers
are killing indiscriminately,' it said. 'Women and children are
being shot in the streets. We are all going to be killed. I repeat,
we are all going to be killed... This is an appeal for international
help. This is an SOS. We appeal to the Australian people. Please
No help came. Tens of thousands of people
died resisting the invasion, or were slaughtered without reason.
Or they died in concentration camps where Indonesian troops herded
peasants whose villages were razed. Or they starved. 'I was the
CIA desk officer in Jakarta at that time,' Philip Liechty told
me, 'I saw the intelligence that came from hard, firm sources
in East Timor. There were people being herded into school buildings
by Indonesian soldiers and the buildings set on fire; anyone trying
to get out was shot. 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. None of that
The Indonesian military all but closed
East Timor to the outside world, making it extremely difficult
to verify what was happening there and relatively easy for Jakarta
and its defenders to plead ignorance of the atrocities. However,
information from credible sources did get out. In 1977, two nuns
in Lisbon received a letter from a priest in hiding in East Timor.
'The invaders', he wrote, 'have intensified their attacks from
land, sea and alt The bombers do not stop all day. Hundreds die
every day. The bodies of the victims become food for carnivorous
birds. Villages have been completely destroyed. The barbarities,
understandable in the Middle Ages, justifiable in the Stone Age,
all the organised evil have spread deep roots in Timor. The terror
of arbitrary imprisonment is our daily bread. I am on the persona
non grata list and any day I could disappear. Genocide will come
soon. . . Another survivor wrote, 'The luck of the Timorese is
to be born in tears, to live in tears and to die in tears.
By 1966, after the populist Indonesian president Sukarno had been
effectively deposed by Suharto, Australian politicians rushed
to reward the new regime with their support for a consortium of
Western aid. An influential Australian Indonesia specialist, Professor
J. A. C. Mackie, expressed this enthusiasm in a eulogy for the
Suharto regime's 'moderate' character. The new government, he
declared, was 'clearly anti-communist and committed to a low-key,
unassertive foreign policy, with a new stress on regionalism and
"good neighbourly" relations with nearby countries.
The stage was set for the working out of a new and more constructive,
enduring set of links.
The fact that Suharto and his generals
had, in seizing power, killed between 300,000 and a million Indonesians
was not mentioned, as if this was irrelevant to the 'new and constructive
set of links'; and indeed it was.
The United States, to which Australia
deferred in strategic matters in its region, had no time for Suharto's
predecessor, 'Bung' Sukarno. Under the non-aligned Sukarno, mass
trade union, peasant, women's and cultural movements had flourished.
Between 1959 and 1965, more than 15 million people joined political
parties or affiliated mass organisations that were encouraged
to challenge British and American influence in South East Asia.'
Indonesia had one of the largest communist parties in the world.
None of this was acceptable to Washington
which, in 1949, had declared that the 'major function of the region
was as a source of raw materials and a market for Japan and Western
Europe', in an emerging global system managed by the United States
and ultimately subordinated to American interests. In 1967 Richard
Nixon wrote, 'With its 100 million people and its 300-mile arc
of islands containing the region's richest hoard of natural resources,
Indonesia is the greatest prize in South East Asia.'
A 'new and constructive set of links'
between the United States and the Indonesian military had long
been forged, allowing the generals to receive US equipment in
spite of Sukarno's hostility. In 1965, following rumours of a
coup against Sukarno, six generals were murdered in what is often
described as a 'communist coup'. If it was that, it had unique
features. None of the middle-ranking military officers who took
part was a communist; and the US embassy denied that the Indonesian
Communist Party (PM) had any reason to take part.
As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the coup
'miraculously spared the pro-US Suharto, while targeting elements
of the military considered anti-American' and allowing Suharto
to carry out 'an actual military coup which led to the slaughter
of half a million people in a few months, mostly landless peasants,
and crushed the popular-based Communist Party; at the same time,
incidentally, turning Indonesia into a "paradise for investors".
Declassified American documents have since
revealed that the United States not only supported the slaughter
but helped the generals to plan and execute it. The CIA gave them
a 'hit list' of 5,000 Communist Party supporters including party
leaders, regional committee members and heads of trade unions
and women's and youth groups, who were hunted down and killed.
In 1990 a former US embassy official in
Jakarta disclosed, that he had spent two years drawing up the
hit list, which was 'a big help to the army'. 'I probably have
a lot of blood on my hands,' he said, 'but that's not all bad.
There's a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.'
The list had been approved by the US Ambassador, who stated that
the US had 'a lot more information' on the PM than the Indonesian
army. As people on the list were murdered, their names were crossed
off by American officials .
With the slaughter under way, US Secretary
of State Dean Rusk cabled the Jakarta embassy that the 'campaign
against [the] PKI' must continue and that the military 'are [the]
only force capable of creating order in Indonesia.' The United
States, he said, was prepared to back a 'major military campaign
against [the] PKI'. The US Ambassador passed this on to the generals,
making it clear 'that the Embassy and the US Government are generally
sympathetic with and admiring of what the army is doing'. When
the military replied that they needed more American weapons to
sustain the slaughter, they were told that 'carefully placed assistance'
- covert aid - would 'help the army cope...'
'No single American action in the period
after 1945', wrote the historian Gabriel Kolko, 'was as bloodthirsty
as its role in Indonesia, for it tried to initiate the massacre,
and it did everything in its power to encourage Suharto.
The Congress and the mainstream American
press welcomed the bloody events as the 'gleam of light in Asia'
...'the West's best news for years in Asia'... 'hope where there
once was none'. The American land invasion of Vietnam in March
of that year, 1965, was now justified as providing a 'shield'
behind which the Indonesian generals were encouraged to carry
out their important anti-communist work.
The British Labour government did not
stand in their way. A year after the extermination campaign, Foreign
In January 1975 Fretilin and its main opponent, UDT, established
a united front to demand independence. This was short-lived. Agents
of Operasi Komodo influenced UDT, creating divisions, distrust
and eventually conflict. The LOT leaders were told independence
was only possible if the 'communists' of Fretilin were 'neutralised'.
Backed by Jakarta, UDT mounted a coup attempt with the Portuguese
stepping aside and creating a political vacuum. This led to civil
war and between 1,500 and 2,000 deaths. (When Indonesian officials
and their foreign supporters attempt to explain the years of slaughter
that followed the Indonesian invasion, they often blame the 'civil
war' that lasted less than a month.)
During the coup attempt the Portuguese
governor and administration left Dili for the nearby Atauro Island,
to avoid being directly involved in the fighting. Fretilin had
recently won a victory in local elections and was now firmly in
control. Its popularity was confirmed by two Australian delegations
that travelled widely in East Timor following the civil war. James
Dunn was a member of a group from the Australian Council for Overseas
Aid (ACOA). Whatever the shortcomings of the Fretilin administration',
he reported, 'it clearly enjoyed widespread support from the population,
including many hitherto UDT supporters.. . Australian relief workers
visited most parts of Timor and, without exception, they reported
that there was no evidence of any insecurity or any hostility
towards Fretilin. Indeed, Fretilin leaders were welcomed warmly
and spontaneously in all main centres by crowds of Timorese. In
my long association with Portuguese Timor, which goes back fourteen
years, I had never before witnessed such demonstrations of spontaneous
warmth and support from the indigenous population.
With Portugal distracted by political
upheaval at home and Fretilin the de facto government in East
Timor, Western governments became alarmed. In July, the British
Ambassador in Jakarta, Sir John Archibald Ford, sent his Head
of Chancery to East Timor. 'The people of Portuguese Timor are
in no condition to exercise the right of self-determination,'
he reported. 'If it comes to the crunch and there is a row in
the United Nations we should keep our heads down and avoid siding
against the Indonesian Government ... Ford recommended to the
Foreign Office that it was in Britain's interests that Indonesia
should 'absorb the territory as soon as and as unobtrusively as
The US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger
having recently watched American power and his own ambitions humiliated
in the 'fall' of Saigon, signalled to Jakarta that the United
States would not object if Indonesia invaded East Timor
Within weeks a clandestine invasion began.
On September 4, the CIA reported that 'two Indonesian special
forces groups entered Portuguese Timor'. On September 17 the CIA
reported, 'Jakarta is now sending guerrilla units into the Portuguese
half of the island in order to engage Fretiin forces, encourage
pro-Indonesian elements, and provoke incidents that would provide
the Indonesians with an excuse to invade. .
The CIA and other American intelligence
agencies intercepted much of Indonesia's military and intelligence
communications at a secret base run by the Australian Defence
Signals Directorate (DSD) near Darwin. The information gathered
was shared under treaty arrangements with Canberra and London
and summarised in the National Intelligence Daily, published by
the CIA, which was on President Ford's desk early each morning
in 1975. Thus, Western governments knew well in advance Indonesia's
intentions and the day-by-day detail of its covert operations.
Moreover, leaked diplomatic cables from Jakarta, notably those
sent by the Australian Ambassador Richard Woolcott, confirmed
Ambassador Woolcott reported that two
of the principal conspirators, including Suharto's crony General
Benny Murdam, had 'assured' him that when Indonesia decided to
launch a full-scale invasion, Australia would get 'not less than
two hours' notice'. In one remarkable cable sent to Canberra in
August 1975, Wookott argued Indonesia's case and how Australian
public opinion might be 'assisted'. 'What Indonesia now looks
to from Australia, in the present situation,' he wrote, 'is some
understanding of their attitude and possible action to assist
public understanding in Australia rather than action on our part
which could contribute to criticism of Indonesia'. The government
could say publicly, Woolcott advised, that 'Australia cannot condone
the use of force in Timor, nor could we accept the principle that
a country can intervene in a neighbouring territory because of
On November 28, 1975, Fretiin leaders
unilaterally declared independence, establishing the Democratic
Republic of East Timor. Ministers were sworn in before a cheering
crowd in Diii, the Portuguese flag was lowered after 450 years,
and a new flag, red, black and yellow with a white star, was raised.
Across the border in Indonesian West Timor, foreign minister Adam
Malik, the author of 'whole-hearted' assurances that Indonesia
had no designs on East Timor, said, 'Diplomacy is finished. The
solution to the East Timor problem is now at the front line of
battle. There had, of course, been no diplomacy; Indonesian troops
were already inside East Timor.
By December 4, foreign aid workers, journalists
and some Fretilin members and their families had been evacuated
from Diii; the invasion was expected the following day. But that
was also the day President Ford and Henry Kissinger were due to
arrive in Jakarta on a visit described by a State Department official
as 'the big wink' .49 The Americans demanded that the Indonesians
wait to invade until after the President had left; and on December
7, as Air Force One climbed out of Indonesian airspace, the bloodbath
CLEANING THE FIELD
The invasion force was led by Ambassador
Woolcott's confidant, General Benny Murdani. The inhabitants of
Dill were subjected to what the historian John Taylor has described
as 'systematic killing, gratuitous violence and primitive plunder'.
The former Bishop of Dill, Costa Lopez, said, 'The soldiers who
landed started killing everyone they could find. There were many
dead bodies in the street - all we could see were the soldiers
killing, killing, killing.'" At. 2 pm on December 9, fifty-nine
men were brought on to the wharf at Dill harbour and shot one
by one, with the crowd ordered to count. The victims were forced
to stand on the edge of the pier facing the sea, so that when
they were shot their bodies fell into the water. Earlier in the
day, women and children had been executed in a similar way. An
eyewitness reported, 'The Indonesians tore the crying children
from their mothers and passed them back to the crowd. The women
were shot one by one, with the onlookers being ordered by the
Indonesians to count.
As in Pol Pot's Cambodia, the first to
die were often minorities. The Chinese population was singled
out. Five hundred were reportedly killed on the first day of the
attack. An eye-witness described how he and others were ordered
to 'tie the bodies to iron poles, attach bricks and throw the
bodies in the sea '. ' In Maubara and Luiquica, on the north-west
coast, the Chinese population was decimated. The killing of whole
families, and especially children, appeared to be systematic.
Soldiers were described swinging infants in the air and smashing
their heads on rocks, with an officer explaining, 'When you clean
the field, don't you kill all the snakes, the small and large
alike?' 'Indonesian troops', wrote John Taylor, 'had been given
orders to crush all opposition ruthlessly, an. were told they
were fighting communists in the cause of Jihad [Holy War], just
as they had done in Indonesia in 1965.'
When President Ford's plane touched down
in Hawaii from Jakarta, he was asked for a reaction to the Indonesian
invasion. He smiled and said, 'We'll talk about that later.' His
press secretary added, 'The President always deplores violence,
wherever it occurs.' Returning to Washington, Kissinger summoned
his senior staff to an emergency meeting at the State Department.
According to the minutes of that meeting (marked 'Secret/Sensitive'),
Kissinger was furious that he had been sent two cables reminding
him that the Indonesians were breaking American law by using American
weapons in the invasion. His fear was that the cables would be
leaked and that Congress and the public would find out about his
'big wink' to the Suharto regime.
KISSINGER: On the Timor thing, that will
leak in three months and it will come out that Kissinger overruled
his pristine bureaucrats and violated the law. How many people...
know about this?
STAFF MEMBER. Three.
KISSINGER: Plus everybody in this meeting,
so you're talking about not less than 15 or 20. You have a responsibility
to recognise that we are living in a revolutionary situation.
Everything on paper will be used against me.
Although clearly aware that the use of
American arms was illegal, Kissinger sought to justify continuing
to supply them by making the victim the aggressor. 'Can't we construe
a Communist government in the middle of Indonesia as selfdefence?'
he asked. Told that this would not work, Kissinger gave orders
that he wanted arms shipments 'stopped quietly', but secretly
'start[ed] again in January." In fact, as the killings increased,
American arms shipments doubled.
Five days after the invasion, the United
Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that 'strongly deplore[d]'
Indonesia's aggression and called on it to withdraw its troops
'without delay'. The governments of the US, Britain, Australia,
Germany and France abstained. Japan, the biggest investor in Indonesia,
voted against the resolution; Ten days later, as Western intelligence
agencies informed their governments of the scale of the massacres
in East Timor, the Security Council unanimously called on 'all
States to respect the territorial integrity of East Timor'. Again,
Indonesia was ordered to withdraw its troops 'without delay'.
This time the US, Britain and France voted in favour, not wanting
to side publicly with the aggressor in such a public forum.
This resolution authorised the Secretary-General,
Kurt Waldheim, to send an envoy to East Timor to make an 'assessment'.
But East Timor was quickly relegated by the Permanent Five - US,
the Soviet Union, France, Britain and China - which showed no
interest in backing the authority of the UN envoy, Winspeare Guicciardi.
Six weeks after the invasion Guicciardi was allowed by the Indonesian
military to visit Dili, but was so restricted and misled that
his visit was worthless.
In a document prepared for Guicciardi's
visit, the Indonesian military laid down guidelines to its battalion
commanders and administrative officials, which became the model
for subsequent visits by delegations of foreign officials. 'All
members of the armed forces', the document read, 'must wear civilian
dress so that it should appear to the delegation that they are
unarmed civilians... Roads must be cleaned and free of military
equipment'. Answers to questions such as 'What treatment is given
to prisoners-of-war?' were to be rehearsed, with 'sensible soldiers
playing the role of prisoners-of-war who are being well-treated
... To ensure realism rations should be improved and those playing
the part of prisoners must fulfill their role scrupulously.'
The document concluded: 'Banners of protest
against UN interference should be prepared, such as the following
[in English in the original] - "United Nations hands off
Timor! We are already integrated with Indonesia! United Nations
we do not want your intervention here!"' (This document was
held in secret for twelve years by an official in the East Timorese
civil service, and was finally smuggled into West Timor under
the floor carpet of a car.)'
On February 4, 1976, the CIA reported
the success of the charade: 'Jakarta has managed, during the UN
representative's visit, to conceal all signs of Indonesian military
forces...' The Portuguese offered the Secretary-General a warship
so that his envoy could be landed in Fretilin-held areas. The
CIA reported, 'The Indonesians are considering whether to sink
the vessel before it reaches Darwin.. '62 This was enough to frighten
away the United Nations. In striking contrast to action taken
against Iraq in 1991, neither the Secretary-General nor the Western
powers uttered a word in condemnation of Indonesia for failing
to comply with a Security Council resolution, and for violating
almost every human rights provision in the UN Charter. On the
contrary, the US Government lent diplomatic support to the invasion.
In a secret cable to Kissinger on January
23, 1976, the United States Ambassador to the IN, Daniel Patrick
Moynihan, boasted about the 'considerable progress' he had made
in blocking UN action on a number of issues related to the developing
world, and he mentioned East Timor. This, he explained, was part
of 'a basic foreign policy goal, that of breaking up the massive
blocs of nations, mostly new nations, which for so long had been
arrayed against us in international forums'. Later Moynihan wrote,
'The United States wished things to turn out as they did [in East
Timor], and worked to bring this about. The Department of State
desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever
measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried
it forward with no inconsiderable success.'"
Moynihan also made clear that he understood
the nature of his achievement. He referred to an admission by
the Indonesian puppet 'deputy governor' of East Timor, Francisco
Lopez de Cruz, that 60,000 people had already died by February
1976 and acknowledged that this was '10 per cent of the population,
almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the Soviet
Union during the Second World War'... In 1980 Moynihan was the
keynote speaker at a conference organised by the Committee for
United Nations Integrity, which denounced the United Nations as
'no longer the guardian of social justice, human rights and equality
among nations' because it is 'perverted by irrelevant political
machinations' and is 'in danger of becoming a force against peace
In the week of the Indonesian invasion,
while he was carrying out his assignment to undermine UN efforts
on behalf of the people of East Timor, Moynihan was awarded the
highest honour of the International League for the Rights of Man
(now the International League for Human Rights) for his role as
'one of the most forthright advocates of human rights on the national
and international scene'."
America's support for Indonesia also had
strategic Cold War motives. In August 1976, US Defence Department
officials met the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, and
cautioned him against straying from the position of his predecessor,
Gough Whitlam. American 'security interests', reported the Melbourne
Age, required the continuing 'goodwill' of the Suharto regime.
The Pentagon's uppermost concern was that American nuclear submarines
should retain right of passage through the Ombai-Wetar deep-water
channels that pass by East Timor. This was essential if the submarines
were to continue to move undetected between the Indian and Pacific
Australia's compliance was nothing short
of enthusiastic. In October of that year, Fraser flew to Jakarta
and, in a speech to Indonesia's parliament, gave the first public
recognition of the occupation of East Timor. At a press conference,
he said his government now 'acknowledged the merger', but 'only
for purely humanitarian reasons'. Fraser was accompanied by J.
B. Reid, managing director of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company
(BHP), Australia's largest corporation. BHP had recently acquired
a controlling share in the Woodside-Burmah company, which had
been drilling for oil on and offshore from East Timor before the
invasion. It was estimated that the seabed between East Timor
and Australia, the 'Timor Gap', contained one of the richest oil
and natural gas fields in the world.
Ambassador Woolcott, in his cable the
previous year recommending 'a pragmatic rather than a principled
stand', had written, 'It would seem to me the Department [of Minerals
and Energy] might well have an interest in closing the present
gap in the agreed sea border and this could be much more readily
negotiated with Indonesia... than with Portugal or independent
Portuguese Timor' .
Other Western governments vied with each
other to 'sympathise with Indonesia's problems' by selling Jakarta
arms which, not surprisingly, were used in East Timor. The leading
sympathiser was France, which supplied the Indonesian army with
tanks and armoured cars and the air force with Alouette attack
helicopters, ideal for low-flying 'counter-insurgency' in the
mountainous interior of East Timor. In announcing the arms sale,
reported Le Monde in September 1978, the French Government declared
that it would abstain from any discussion in the United Nations
about East Timor so as to avoid placing 'Indonesia in an embarrassing
At the same time, the British Labour Government
signed a deal with Indonesia for four Hawk ground-attack aircraft.
When asked about the implications for East Timor, the Foreign
Secretary, David Owen, said that the estimates of the killings
had been 'exaggerated' and that 'the most reliable estimates [are]
at around 10,000, probably less [and] this includes the civil
war.. .' He went on, 'Such a total is, in all conscience, tragic
enough, but foreign observers, whom the Indonesians have allowed
to visit East Timor, have reported that the scale of fighting
since then has been greatly reduced.
The opposite was true. Owen's 'reliable
estimates' of deaths merely reflected Indonesian propaganda, and,
far from the scale of fighting being 'greatly reduced', the genocide
was then actually reaching its height. Moreover, Western - mainly
American - military equipment was now the main instrument of terror.
Eye-witnesses to the onslaughts in East Timor spoke of scenes
reminiscent of Dante's Inferno. 'After September ,' wrote
a priest, 'the war intensified. Military aircraft were in action
all day long. Hundreds of human beings die daily, their bodies
left as food for the vultures, if bullets don't kill us, we die
from epidemic disease; villages are being completely destroyed.
Canada, one of the leading Western investors
in Indonesia, broke its own laws barring the export of weapons
to areas of conflict simply by pretending that there was no fighting
in East Timor. The Canadian Government claimed that 'groups opposed
to the Fretilin political faction requested the assistance of
Indonesia [and] made a formal request for the integration of East
Timor, and Timor is now an integral part of Indonesia'. Indonesia
was also backed by its partners in the Association of South-East
Asian Nations (ASEAN) and by most Islamic countries, by India,
which had annexed Portuguese Goa in 1963, and by Japan, which
looked to Indonesia for both commerce and vital oil supplies.
The Soviet Union and its Eastern bloc allies split their votes
in the UN over East Timor rather than upset their own burgeoning
realpolitik with Indonesia.
As for Portugal, since the Governor's
humiliating withdrawal to Atauro Island (the aptly named 'Isle
of Goats'), the ineptitude of its handling of its responsibilities
might have been excused by the enduring confusion in Lisbon. But
the Portuguese appear to have taken, in secret, quite deliberate
steps to 'solve the problem' of their colony.
In September 1974, the Portuguese foreign
minister, Mario Soares, met his Indonesian counterpart, Adam Malik,
and reportedly agreed that Portugal would not discourage support
for East Timor's 'integration' with Indonesia. This led the deputy
security chief in the Jakarta regime, Ali Murtopo, to remark that
'the problem of Portuguese Timor is now clear'. The Indonesians
may have distorted Soares' 'agreement'; certainly, in public Soares
maintained that Portugal had a moral obligation to abide by the
wishes of the East Timorese. However, when Mi Murtopo made an
unpublicised visit to Lisbon a few weeks late; and described to
Portuguese leaders Australia's accommodating attitude, he was,
according to one account, told that full independence was 'unrealistic'
Six years later the ghosts of East Timor
returned Hamlet-like to Portugal. A 1,000-page secret government
report on East Timor was ordered declassified by President Antonio
Eanes. It described a series of clandestine meetings between Portuguese
and Indonesian officials in which Lisbon's leftwing government
accommodated Jakarta. At the last of these meetings, in Hong Kong
in June 1975, the Portuguese told the Indonesians they had drafted
East Timor's decolomsation statute in such a way that it would
give them a year to try to persuade the population to accept integration
with Indonesia. If this was rejected, and Indonesia chose to use
force, 'the Portuguese Government is not prepared to create problems,
and could easily send a ship to Timor to evacuate all Portuguese'...
The Backroom Boys, Chomsky quoted an American pilot explaining
the 'finer selling points' of Napalm: 'We sure are pleased with
those backroom boys at Dow [Chemical]. The original product wasn't
so hot [sic] - if the gooks were quick enough they could scrape
it off. So the boys started I adding polystyrene - now it sticks
like shit to a blanket. It'll even burn under water now.'
... No journalist, no intellectual, no writer can simply express
the truth about the Vietnam war that the United States attacked
South Vietnam. That isn't being moderate... In the 1930s, the
American government described Hitler as a moderate, standing between
the extremists of the left and right; therefore we had to support
him. Mussolini was a moderate. In the mid-1980s Saddam Hussein
was a moderate, contributing "stability" to the region.
General Suharto of Indonesia is described regularly as a moderate.
From 1965, when he came to power, slaughtering maybe 700,000 people,
the New York Times and other journals described him as the leader
of the Indonesian moderates.'
...'Sure, I am an extremist, because a moderate is anyone who
supports Western power and an extremist is anyone who objects
to it. Take for example, George Kennan [the post-war American
Cold War strategist]. He was one of the leading architects of
the modern world and is at the soft or dovish end of the US planning
spectrum. When he was head of the policy planning staff he quite
explicitly said - in internal documents, not publicly of course
- that we must put aside vague and idealistic slogans about human
rights, democratisation and the raising of living standards and
deal in straight power concepts if we want to maintain the disparity
between our enormous wealth and the poverty of everyone else.
But it's rare that someone is that honest.'
' ... The United States is, in fact, the freest society in the
world. The level of freedom and protection of freedom of speech
has no parallel anywhere. This was not a gift; it's not because
it was written in the Constitution. Up to the 1920s, the United
States was very repressive, probably more so than England. The
great breakthrough was in 1964 when the law of seditious libel
was eliminated. This, in effect, made it a crime to condemn authority.
It was finally declared unconstitutional in the course of the
civil rights struggle. Only popular struggle protects freedom.'
... 'Britain was one of the freest countries in the world in the
nineteenth century and had a horrendous record of atrocities.
There's simply no correlation between internal freedom and external
violence. In fact, things are even more complex in the United
States, which probably has the most sophisticated system of doctrinaire
management in the world. You see, the basic idea which runs right
through modern history and modern liberalism is that the public
has got to be marginalised.
... 'The general public are viewed as
no more than ignorant)L. and meddlesome outsiders, a bewildered
herd. And it's the responsible men who have to make decisions
and to protect society from the trampling and rage of the bewildered
herd. Now since it's a democracy they - the herd, that is - are
permitted occasionally to lend their weight to one or another
member of the responsible class. That's called an election.'
'... There's a major attack on democracy going on in the world
[with] a kind of world government being established which involves
the IMF and the World Bank and the GATT. This has to be understood...
and it has to be struggled against.
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