cj#982> East Timor: reports & discussion


Richard Moore

rkm to cj:

Several subscribers have sent in thoughts about East Timor, and I've
received some reports I'd like to share.   First a couple brief reports...
both refer us to websites, and the second refers to a radio broadcast that
has already occurred... nonetheless the messages themselves summarize some
important facts about East Timor...

Subject: Indonesia : The 2nd Greatest Crime of the Century
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 17:45:26 -0400
From: The Wisdom Fund <•••@••.•••>
Bcc: •••@••.•••

For anyone trying to understand the situation in East Timor the following
is must reading:

     Indonesia : The 2nd Greatest Crime of the Century, Deirdre Griswold
-- Describes 350 years of colonialism, the blood bath supported by the
U.S., the role of the CIA, and of the U.S. corporations who arrived for the

You may read it in our Activists' Library at --


The Wisdom Fund

From: "Tim Murphy" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>, •••@••.•••
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 16:15:54 +0100


Eduardo Silva <•••@••.•••>
wrote in message news:<7r7agh$6po$•••@••.•••>...


September 8, 1999 on Democracy NOW!



Today we bring listeners an exclusive story on the links between the
Indonesian military, the militias that are conducting a campaign of
ethnic cleansing in East Timor and the United States government.
Journalist Allan Nairn, the only US journalist left in East Timor, has
obtained classified documents and conducted interviews with
intelligence officials from the US and Indonesia that show these

The information includes cables and other communication between the US
and Indonesian military, personal telephone records of militia leader
Eurico Gutierres and notes documenting military briefings by a senior
US military official.

Meanwhile, the United Nations announced this morning that it is pulling
out all of its personnel from East Timor, a decision taken by secretary
General Kofi Annan after the UN compound in Dili, where there are a
thousand terrified refugees, suffered a virtual siege by the
Indonesia-supported militias.

Latest reports from Dili speak of a city in flames and rampant
intimidation by death squads armed and supported by the Indonesian

The UN pullout is a desperate blow for the East Timorese trying to seek
protection from the violence. It also means that there will be few, if
any, international observers in East Timor left as witnesses.

Earlier, Indonesia rejected any early deployment of foreign forces in
East Timor to quell the violence there, saying it is still capable of
restoring peace to the territory. State Secretary Muladi made the
announcement as a United Nations Security Council delegation arrived in
Jakarta for urgent talks with the political and military leadership on
how to end the bloodshed.


Allan Nairn, Journalist in Dili, East Timor.

James Crombie wrote, re: "cj#981> East Timor: 'just another brick' in the
NWO wall":

    My main reason for responding to your posting, however, is
    that I am disturbed by what I take to be the gist of your
    argument: that since the corporatist elite are awful,
    hypocritical people and have been behaving badly over the
    years, and since they *now* want to intervene, we should
    *now* be against intervention. This is not a good argument,
    since wrong-headed people can, occasionally, be in favour of
    the right things, or at least be moved to say that they are.

Actually, I'm neither for nor against intervention.  To me it's a "Sophies
Choice" - dammned if you do and damned if you don't.

Certainly a competent and beneficial intervention - aimed at establishing
security and local democratic sovereignty - would be a good thing in East
Timor... as it would be in dozens of other places around the world, where
Western-supported military regimes suppress populations and routinely
ignore human rights.  Even a not-so-good intervention would be better than
the current slaughter.

On the other hand, I can muster no enthusiasm for writing letters to
encourage intervention, when any actual intervention would be for some
geopolitical purpose, and the people ordering it would be the ones
responsible for creating the problem in the first place.   Besides, most of
Western public opinion has been aroused - via media coverage - in favor of
intervention, and there doesn't seem to be much point in wasting activist
energy to help push that bandwagon.

James continued...

    Meanwhile, it looks like your outrage is a little premature
    and a little misplaced, since, by all appearances, the
    Washington clan of your corporatist elite, contrary to what
    you seem to be suggesting, is *not at all* eager for
    intervention, either by Americans or by anyone else,
    including the Australians and the Portuguese...

I agree that the signals are mixed right now.

The UN has pulled out and the US doesn't seem to be threatening
intervention - so it _appears that the East Timorese are to be abandoned to
their fate, as so many people in Africa are being abandoned to genocidal
civil wars, the Tibetans have been abandoned to China, etc.

The US has cut off military ties with Indonesia (in the past few days), but
there's no way to know if that's a serious gesture or a public-relations

Chomsky, who knows a lot more than I do, seems to think an Intervention is
unlikely.   I received the following report from •••@••.•••:


    East Timor
    Comments On the Occasion of the Forthcoming APEC Summit

    The reasons for the Western stance are very clear. They are
    currently stated with brutal frankness. "The dilemma is that
    Indonesia matters and East Timor doesn't," a Western
    diplomat in Jakarta bluntly observed a few days ago. It is
    no "dilemma," he might have added, but rather standard
    operating procedure. Explaining why the U.S. refuses to take
    a stand, New York Times Asia specialists Elizabeth Becker
    and Philip Shenon report that the Clinton Administration
    "has made the calculation that the United States must put
    its relationship with Indonesia, a mineral-rich nation of
    more than 200 million people, ahead of its concern over the
    political fate of East Timor, a tiny impoverished territory
    of 800,000 people that is seeking independence." Their fate
    as human beings apparently does not even reach the radar
    screen, for these calculations. The Washington Post quotes
    Douglas Paal, president of the Asia Pacific Policy Center,
    reporting the facts of life: "Timor is a speed bump on the
    road to dealing with Jakarta, and we've got to get over it
    safely. Indonesia is such a big place and so central to the
    stability of the region."

    Even without secret Pentagon assurances, Indonesian Generals
    can surely read these statements and draw the conclusion
    that they will be granted leeway to work their will.

Despite all this, my own assessment is that there _will be an intervention.
I base this assessment on the nature of the media coverage we've been
exposed to.   We've been shown horrific scenes, we've been told who the bad
guys are, and we've seen the UN pull out just when they were most needed.
All of this makes for a perfect prelude to an eventual intervention by a
_non UN force.  Just as in Kosovo, some combination of Western powers now
has the opportunity to 'ride to the rescue' where the UN has failed.
According to the latest news I've seen, Australia may have been assigned
the leadership role.

You may recall an intervention in Albania, led by Greece & Italy, also
without direct US participation.  Thus the new regime of international
'order' unfolds.  Western powers are by definition the 'good guys', a kind
of global posse.  Any one of these kindly marshalls has the right to ride
in with six-guns shooting and clear up any fracas among the 'bad guys'.  Of
course any non-Western country is always under suspicion, as is any black
youth seen on the streets.  'They' are underdeveloped, don't really
understand democracy, and need to be taken care of by us wiser and more
mature societies.

If there is an Australian-led intervention, I would imagine part of the US
fleet would maneuver themselves into the region to keep an eye on things,
and to make it clear to Indonesia and other regional actors that no one was
to improvise during the pre-arranged scene.  Given the way the timing seems
to be going, we could expect this in late September... just the right time
for an American fleet to 'happen' to be on station in the vicinity of the
Taiwaan Strait.


Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 10:11:20 -0400
From: Yves Leclerc <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#981> East Timor
To: •••@••.•••
Cc: "Moore, Richard" <•••@••.•••>
Message-id: <•••@••.•••>
MIME-version: 1.0
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.6 [fr] (Win98; I)
Content-type: text/plain
Content-transfer-encoding: 8BIT
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References: <v04011708b3fbd41c52e2@[]>

Here are several somewhat contradictory thoughts about East Timor.

1. It teaches us a key lesson: "human rights" are only valid in areas
where the US can strike from the air and kill people with impunity. The
Pentagon learned well from, on one hand the disasters in Lebanon and
Somalia, and on the other the "military successes" in Iraq and Kosovo.
2. It also teaches tyrants everywhere another key lesson: it's pretty
safe to do anything as long as you hurry and get the worst of the dirty
work done before the US makes up its mind to act. Don't worry about what
the rest of the world thinks; the UN, in particular, has now been
thoroughly brought to heel, you can be sure it'll wait obediently for
Washington's lead. And this always stops short of raising the dead...
and even, recently, of toppling a solidly entrenched regime. Your people
may eventually suffer, you won't.

3. Another harsh lesson for everyone: using externally-defined "human
rights" as a pretext to barge into the internal affairs of a
heterogeneous country is playing sorcerer's apprentice. The
re-Balkanization of the Balkans is a remarkable demonstration of this:
what was an imperfect but fairly stable and livable country, Yugoslavia,
has now become the same kind of unpredictable and bloody powderkeg it
was before WW II. Most of the people living in that area, and all of
their neighbors, are now much worse off than they were 10-12 years ago,
thanks to well-meaning (???) but short-sighted meddling... or to a
wilful destabilization plot, take your pick. With even less help from
us, Russia is self-destructing at a record clip; China was another prime
prospect for this, but it has taken tough and almost certainly overly
bloody measures to counter the trend, and is making remarkable progress
despite the West, not thanks to it. Indonesia, on the other hand, is now
our best candidate for disintegration, with its multitude of insular
peoples with varied languages, cultures, histories and centrifuge

4. Whether intentional or not, the manichean treatment the media give to
every conflict almost perfectly prevents the general public from having
any rational understanding of the situation, the actors and the factors,
and thus making up its own mind. As soon as a problem emerges in our
mediatic consciousness, we're offered a "good" side that's all white,
and a "bad" one that's all black. No matter that real life is never like
that: presenting a balanced view is (a) unfeasible in a one-minute
report, (b) dull, audience-repelling television, and (c) impossible for
the lack of factual data and the warping effect of one-sided government

5. Human rights imposed on a people who don't truly understand them and
never had to strive for them tend to have an atomizing effect which in
fact makes individuals more, not less, vulnerable to manipulation and
oppression, especially economic. History clearly shows they only help
the citizenry and the consumers when they are obtained by groups of
people fighting for them -- violently or peaceably. Why? Because they
then give rise to coalitions and organized movements that have the time,
the means and the strength to defend and further them: labor unions,
consumer groups, gay lib, women's lib, ACLU, Greens in Europe, etc. The
real bulwark of liberty is a structured community of interests, not an
isolated individual given some "rights" he/she doesn't truly understand
and has no way of enforcing.
Yves Leclerc, Montreal
"La guerre ne décide pas qui avait raison,
mais qui peut prétendre avoir eu raison."
(War decides not who was right,
but who can pretend to have been right -- Chinese saying?).

From: "Vadim Bondar" <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#981- East Timor: 'just another brick' in the NWO wall
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 02:07:04 EDT

Thank you, Richard. Very good and thoughtful article. Yet I can't fail to
notice that the situation in East Timor is much different from that, say, of
Yugoslavia and, interestingly, the masters are again doing the opposite
thing. Noam Chomsky says: "You have to get involved," and they say: "No,
thank you. It's Asia. Let Australians take care of it." Either NWO went on
vacation for a month or, as you say, they have more important things to do.
Or may be just that pendulum swings to the other side and they wait for it
to come back.

Congratulations on the South African scenario. It seems like it is what they
are trying to achieve for the whole world. Long-distance slavery, so to
speak. The master shouldn't get too closely involved. Like, you know, in
prison tough inmates are selected to keep the order so that the guards can
go home and have dinner. So Indonesians have somebody to hate now, God
forbid they should hate Americans.

The NWO gamble seems to be to get enough money out of the Third World to
keep Western population qiet. Just imagine 9/10th of the world population
working for the white man. Wouldn't it be "paradise on earth"? "Burden of
the white man" and so forth to keep moral values high.
The thing is that world trade is not necessarily bad. But this is no trade,
it's like one big factory.

Well, let's just keep our heads cool.


Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 22:09:34 -0700
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.••• (by way of Rycroft & Pringle <•••@••.•••>)
Subject: Peace/Justice Int'l -- E. Timor Addresses / Chomsky / Foreign



East Timor
Comments On the Occasion of the Forthcoming APEC Summit

By Noam Chomsky

There are many topics of major long-term significance that should be
addressed at the APEC conference, but one is of consuming importance and
overwhelming urgency. We all know exactly what it is, and why it must be
placed at the forefront of concern -- and more important, instant
action. This conference provides an opportunity -- there may not be many
more -- to terminate the tragedy that is once again reaching shocking
proportions in East Timor. The Indonesian military forces who invaded
East Timor 24 years ago, and have been slaughtering and terrorizing its
inhabitants ever since, are right now, as I write, in the process of
sadistically destroying what remains: the population, the cities and
villages. What they are planning, we cannot be sure: a Carthaginian
solution is not out of the question.

The tragedy of East Timor has been one of the most awesome of this
terrible century. It is also of particular moral significance for us,
for the simplest and most obvious of reasons. Western complicity has
been direct and decisive. The expected corollary also holds: unlike the
crimes of official enemies, these can be ended by means that have always
been readily available, and still are.

The current wave of terror and destruction began early this year, under
the pretense that the atrocities were the work of "uncontrolled
militias." It was quickly revealed that these were paramilitary forces
armed, organized, and directed by the Indonesian army, who also
participated directly in their "criminal activities," as these have just
been described by Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, still
maintaining the shameful pretense that the "military institution" that
is directing the crimes is seeking to stop them.

The Indonesian military forces are commonly described as "rogue
elements." That is hardly accurate. Most prominent among them are
Kopassus units sent to East Timor to carry out the actions for which
they are famed, and dreaded. They have "the job of managing the
militias, many observers believe," veteran Asia correspondent David
Jenkins reported as the terror was mounting. Kopassus is the "crack
special forces unit" modeled on the U.S. Green Berets that had "been
training regularly with US and Australian forces until their behaviour
became too much of an embarrassment for their foreign friends." These
forces are "legendary for their cruelty," observes Benedict Anderson,
one of the leading Indonesia scholars. In East Timor, Anderson
continues, "Kopassus became the pioneer and exemplar for every kind of
atrocity," including systematic rapes, tortures and executions, and
organization of hooded gangsters.

Jenkins wrote that Kopassus officers, trained in the United States,
adopted the tactics of the US Phoenix program in South Vietnam, which
killed tens of thousands of peasants and much of the indigenous South
Vietnamese leadership, as well as "the tactics employed by the Contras"
in Nicaragua, following lessons taught by their CIA mentors that it
should be unnecessary to review. The state terrorists were "not simply
going after the most radical pro-independence people but going after the
moderates, the people who have influence in their community." "It's
Phoenix," a well-placed source in Jakarta reported: the aim is "to
terrorise everyone" -- the NGOs, the Red Cross, the UN, the journalists.

All of this was well before the referendum and the atrocities conducted
in its immediate aftermath. As to these, there is good reason to heed
the judgment of a high-ranking Western official in Dili. "Make no
mistake," he reported: "this is being directed from Jakarta. This is not
a situation where a few gangs of rag-tag militia are out of control. As
everybody here knows, it has been a military operation from start to

The official was speaking from the UN compound in which the UN
observers, the last few reporters, and thousands of terrified Timorese
finally took refuge, beseiged by Indonesia's paramilitary agents. At
that time, a few days ago, the UN estimated that violent expulsions had
perhaps reached 200,000 people, about a quarter of the population, with
unknown numbers killed and physical destruction running to billions of
dollars. At best, it would take decades to rebuild the territory's basic
infrastructure, they concluded. And the army may well have still more
far-reaching goals.

In the months before the August 30 referendum, the horror story
continued. Citing diplomatic, church, and militia sources, Australian
journalists reported in July "that hundreds of modern assault rifles,
grenades and mortars are being stockpiled, ready for use if the autonomy
[within Indonesia] option is rejected at the ballot box." They warned
that the army-run militias might be planning a violent takeover of much
of the territory if, despite the terror, the popular will would be
expressed. All of this was well understood by the "foreign friends," who
also knew how to bring the terror to an end, but preferred to delay,
hesitate, and keep to evasive and ambiguous reactions that the
Indonesian Generals could easily interpret as a "green light" to carry
out their grim work.

In a display of extraordinary courage and heroism, virtually the entire
population made their way to the ballot-boxes, many emerging from hiding
to do so. Braving brutal intimidation and terror, they voted
overwhelming in favor of the right of self-determination that had long
ago been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council and the World

Immediately, the Indonesian occupying forces reacted as had been
predicted by observers on the scene. The weapons that had been
stockpiled, and the forces that had been mobilized, conducted a
well-planned operation. They proceeded to drive out anyone who might
bring the terrible story to the outside world and cut off
communications, while massacring, expelling tens of thousands of people
to an unknown fate, burning and destroying, murdering priests and nuns,
and no one knows how many other hapless victims. The capital city of
Dili has been virtually destroyed. In the countryside, where the army
can rampage undetected, one can only guess what has taken place.

Even before the latest outrages, highly credible Church sources had
reported 3-5000 killed in 1999, well beyond the scale of atrocities in
Kosovo prior to the NATO bombings. The scale might even reach the level
of Rwanda if the "foreign friends" keep to timid expressions of
disapproval while insisting that internal security in East Timor "is the
responsibility of the Government of Indonesia, and we don't want to take
that responsibility away from them" -- the official position of the
State Department a few days before the August 30 referendum.

It would have been far less hypocritical to have said, early this year,
that internal security in Kosovo "is the responsibility of the
Government of Yugoslavia, and we don't want to take that responsibility
away from them." Indonesia's crimes in East Timor have been vastly
greater, even just this year, not to speak of their actions during the
years of aggression and terror; Western-backed, we should never allow
ourselves to forget. That aside, Indonesia has no claim whatsoever to
the territory it invaded and occupied, apart from the claim based on
support by the Great Powers.

The "foreign friends" also understand that direct intervention in the
occupied territory, however justified, might not even be necessary. If
the United States were to take a clear, unambiguous, and public stand,
informing the Indonesian Generals that this game is over, that might
very well suffice. The same has been true for the past quarter-century,
as the US provided critical military and diplomatic support for the
invasion and atrocities. These were directed by General Suharto,
compiling yet another chapter in his gruesome record, always with
Western support, and often acclaim. He was once again praised by the
Clinton Administration. He is "our kind of guy," the Administration
declared as he visited Washington shortly before he fell from grace by
losing control and dragging his feet on IMF orders.

If changing the former green light to a new red light does not suffice,
Washington and its allies have ample means at their disposal:
termination of arms sales to the killers; initiation of war crimes
trials against the army leadership -- not an insignificant threat;
cutting the economic support funds that are, incidentally, not without
their ambiguities; putting a hold on Western energy corporations and
multinationals, along with other investment and commercial activities.
There is also no reason to shy away from peacekeeping forces to replace
the occupying terrorist army, if that proves necessary. Indonesia has no
authority to "invite" foreign intervention, as President Clinton urged,
any more than Saddam Hussein had authority to invite foreign
intervention in Kuwait, or Nazi Germany in France in 1944 for that
matter. If dispatch of peacekeeping forces is disguised by such
prettified terminology, it is of no great importance, as long as we do
not succumb to illusions that prevent us from understanding what has
happened, and what it portends.

What the U.S. and its allies are doing, we scarcely know. The New York
Times reports that the Defense Department is "taking the lead in dealing
with the crisis,...hoping to make use of longstanding ties between the
Pentagon and the Indonesian military." The nature of these ties over
many decades is no secret. Important light on the current stage is
provided by Alan Nairn, who survived the Dili massacre in 1991 and
barely escaped with his life in Dili again a few days ago. In another
stunning investigative achievement, Nairn has just revealed that
immediately after the vicious massacre of dozens of refugees seeking
shelter in a church in Liquica, U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Dennis
Blair assured Indonesian Army chief General Wiranto of US support and
assistance, proposing a new U.S. training mission.

On September 8, the Pacific Command announced that Admiral Blair is once
again being sent to Indonesia to convey U.S. concerns. On the same day,
Secretary of Defense William Cohen reported that a week before the
referendum in August, the US was carrying out joint operations with the
Indonesian army -- "a U.S.-Indonesian training exercise focused on
humanitarian and disaster relief activities," the wire services
reported. The fact that Cohen could say this without shame leaves one
numb with amazement. The training exercise was put to use within days --
in the standard way, as all but the voluntarily blind must surely
understand after many years of the same tales, the same outcomes.

Every slight move comes with an implicit retraction. On the eve of the
APEC meeting, on September 9, Clinton announced the termination of
military ties; but without cutting off arms sales, and while declaring
East Timor to be "still a part of Indonesia," which it is not and has
never been. The decision was delivered to General Wiranto by Admiral
Blair. It takes no unusual cynicism to watch the current secret
interactions with a skeptical eye.

Skepticism is only heightened by the historical record: to mention one
recent case, Clinton's evasion of congressional restrictions barring
U.S. training of Indonesian military officers after the Dili massacre.
The earlier record is far worse from the first days of the
U.S.-authorized invasion. While the U.S. publicly condemned the
aggression, Washington secretly supported it with a new flow of arms,
which was increased by the Carter Administration as the slaughter
reached near-genocidal levels in 1978. It was then that highly credible
Church and other sources in East Timor attempted to make public the
estimates of 200,000 deaths that came to be accepted years later, after
constantly denial.

Every student in the West, every citizen with even a minimal concern for
international affairs, should know by heart the frank and honest
description of the opening days of the invasion by Senator Daniel
Patrick Moynihan, then America's U.N. Ambassador. The Security Council
ordered the invaders to withdraw at once, but without effect. In his
memoirs, published as the terror peaked 20 years ago, Moynihan explained
the reasons: "The United States wished things to turn out as they did,"
and he dutifully "worked to bring this about," rendering the UN "utterly
ineffective in whatever measures it undertook." As for how "things
turned out," Moynihan comments that within a few months 60,000 Timorese
had been killed, "almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the
Soviet Union during the Second World War." End of story, though not in
the real world.

So matters have continued since, not just in the United States. England
has a particularly ugly record, as do Australia, France, and all too
many others. That fact alone confers on them enormous responsibility to
act, not only to end the atrocities, but to provide reparations as at
least some miserable gesture of compensation for their crimes.

The reasons for the Western stance are very clear. They are currently
stated with brutal frankness. "The dilemma is that Indonesia matters and
East Timor doesn't," a Western diplomat in Jakarta bluntly observed a
few days ago. It is no "dilemma," he might have added, but rather
standard operating procedure. Explaining why the U.S. refuses to take a
stand, New York Times Asia specialists Elizabeth Becker and Philip
Shenon report that the Clinton Administration "has made the calculation
that the United States must put its relationship with Indonesia, a
mineral-rich nation of more than 200 million people, ahead of its
concern over the political fate of East Timor, a tiny impoverished
territory of 800,000 people that is seeking independence." Their fate as
human beings apparently does not even reach the radar screen, for these
calculations. The Washington Post quotes Douglas Paal, president of the
Asia Pacific Policy Center, reporting the facts of life: "Timor is a
speed bump on the road to dealing with Jakarta, and we've got to get
over it safely. Indonesia is such a big place and so central to the
stability of the region."

Even without secret Pentagon assurances, Indonesian Generals can surely
read these statements and draw the conclusion that they will be granted
leeway to work their will.

The analogy to Kosovo has repeatedly been drawn in the past days. It is
singularly inappropriate, in many crucial respects. A closer analogy
would be to Iraq-Kuwait, though this radically understates the scale of
the atrocities and the culpability of the United States and its allies.
There is still time, though very little time, to prevent a hideous
consummation of one of the most appalling tragedies of the terrible
century that is winding to a horrifying, wrenching close.


[THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views]

     Released September 11, 1999
     The Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
     Website: http://www.twf.org -- Press Contact: Enver Masud

     Foreign Interests Could Precipitate
     Wider Catastrophe in Indonesia

          WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Foreign interests could lead to a
          breakup of Indonesia, and precipitate a much wider
          catastrophe than is now occurring in East Timor.

          According to Oxford Analytica, a British political
          consulting firm, Indonesia blames Australia for "putting
          pressure on [Indonesia's President] Habibie through a
          letter sent by Prime Minister John Howard urging that a
          referendum be held in the territory [East Timor].

          Indonesia fears that Australia may be seeking the means
          to weaken it. Australia has the motive, Indonesians
          believe, and in the turmoil in East Timor Australia sees

          Indonesian President "Habibie and his civilian advisors,
          many of them drawn from the Association of Indonesian
          Muslim Intellectuals, have long argued that Catholic
          East Timor should be allowed to go its own way," says
          Oxford Analytica. Others fear that independence for East
          Timor "will set a disturbing precedent for other restive
          regions such as Irian Jaya and Aceh."

          Aceh has been racked with violence. The Achenese seek a
          greater share of profits from Aceh's oil, and some seek
          outright independence from Indonesia.

          Australia's offer to lead a UN peace-keeping force to
          East Timor is, with some justification, viewed with
          suspicion. About 200 years ago, aboriginals occupied all
          of Australia and the island of Tasmania. In Tasmania,
          following the arrival of the British - ancestors of
          today's white Australian's, not a single Aborigine
          survived, while those located on the coasts of mainland
          Australia were forced to flee inland or were killed.

          Indonesia, with a population of 213 million, 17,000
          islands (6,000 inhabited) stretching for 2,602 km, and a
          coastline of 54,716 km "fears that Canberra is seeking
          to ally itself with East Timor so that it can take the
          best advantage of any future break-up of Indonesia."

          The U.S. has its own interests in Indonesia, and shares
          responsibility for the events leading to the present
          situation in East Timor.

          "American strategy in Asia," argues Stratfor.com "is
          focused on control of the archipelago of islands that
          runs down East Asia's coast. Starting with the
          Aleutians, the line runs through Japan, Taiwan, the
          Philippines, Indonesia, and is ultimately anchored on
          Singapore. Control of this line allows the U.S. to
          achieve three things."

          "First, it provides the U.S. with a comprehensive line
          beyond which Chinese and Russian naval power cannot move
          in time of war. Second, the line provides the U.S. with
          offensive positions from which to threaten air and naval
          actions against the continent and even, should the need
          arise, occasional amphibious interventions along East
          Asia's coast. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it
          gives the U.S. implicit power over petroleum-hungry East
          Asia by placing the essential maritime choke points in
          the hands of U.S. naval forces."

          The Asian financial crisis in 1997/98 revealed the weak
          underpinnings of Indonesia's economy a large part of
          which is in the hands of ethnic Chinese, and not the
          native majority Muslims. Indonesia brokered a $42
          billion bailout package from the International Monetary
          Fund. Now this loan package has been jeopardized, and
          continued weakness in Indonesia's economy may trigger
          widespread unrest.

          Meanwhile, President B. J. Habibie appears not to have
          full control, while Indonesia's military which plays a
          powerful role is adjusting to changes brought about when
          President Habbibie took over from President Suharto.
          Newly elected Ms. Sukarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia's
          first President Sukarno, waits to take over from
          President Habibie.

          "The Indonesian fascist army is a monster that was
          created by Washington in the 1960s, when the U.S. was
          escalating the war in Vietnam," says former U.S.
          Attorney General Ramsey Clark, "Washington tipped the
          balance toward the fascist right wing of the military by
          training, equipping and financing a coup," which
          replaced President Sukarno with the U.S. favored
          President Suharto.

          Suharto's army invaded East Timor while the U.S., which
          viewed East Timor as another Cuba, looked the other way.

          The Indonesia which emerged from years of Dutch colonial
          oppression in 1949 is a mix of cultures as diverse as
          those of say Washington, DC and the Indians of the
          Amazon forests. It is now in the midst of a volatile
          situation that could worsen, and destroy the weak ties
          which bind Indonesia.

          Foreign interests such as those of Australia, rather
          than actions taken to enhance Indonesia's stability,
          could lead to a breakup of Indonesia, and precipitate a
          much wider catastrophe than is now occurring in East

          The first priority for Indonesia, and the international
          community, is to minimize harm to the people of East
          Timor and all of Indonesia. And it's in Indonesia's self
          interest to set aside internal divisions, and to be at
          the forefront of the solution to the problems in East
          Timor, Aceh, and Irian Jaya.

          Copyright © 1999 The Wisdom Fund - All Rights Reserved.
          Provided that it is not edited, and author name,
          organization, and URL are included, this article may be
          printed in newspapers and magazines, and e-mailed to

The Wisdom Fund


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