Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:05 AM
UnrepentantLiberal (11,700 posts)
UN peacekeepers exit East Timor: The legacy of Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger's massacre remains
The United Nations has ended its peacekeeping mission in East Timor after 13 years of providing the country direct security assistance.
A final batch of UN troops and logistics staff left the South-east Asian country, officially known as Timor Leste, on Monday.
"Timor-Leste has now reached a stage in its development, politically and developmentally, where it can in fact stand on its own feet," said Finn Reske-Nielsen, Head of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste.
The government plans to boost development from the country’s offshore oil and gas reserves, which experts say, may benefit urban Timorese more than the regional poor.
Amy Goodman Recounts the East Timor Massacre 15 Years Ago
This weekend marked the 15th anniversary of the massacre at the Santa Cruz cemetery in East Timor. On November 12th, 1991, Indonesian troops opened fire on a crowd of several thousand unarmed Timorese civilians gathered in Dili. At least 271 people were killed. Journalists Amy Goodman and Allan Nairn witnessed and survived the massacre. We play an excerpt of their award-winning documentary, "Massacre: The Story of East Timor."
AMY GOODMAN: I was in East Timor 15 years ago this weekend with journalist Allan Nairn, and this is a clip of our documentary, Massacre: The Story of East Timor.
AMY GOODMAN: And then came the morning of November 12, the two-week commemoration of Sebastiao’s funeral. A memorial mass and procession were planned to lay flowers on Sebastiao’s grave. After the mass was held at the Moteal, people, young and old, came out into the street, and in a land where public speech and assembly had been forbidden for over a decade, they started chanting. The Timorese then held up banners drawn on bed sheets. They had been prepared for the delegation that never came. The banners called on Indonesia to leave East Timor and said things like "Why the Indonesian army shoot our church?" The Timorese were facing a gauntlet of troops that stretched the length of Dili. It was the boldest act of public protest occupied Timor had ever seen.
ALLAN NAIRN: More and more Timorese joined the procession. They came from huts and schools and offices along the way. And there was this building feeling of exhilaration, as well as fear, among the Timorese. And when they reached the cemetery, the crowd had swelled to maybe 5,000 people. Some went inside to lay flowers on Sebastiao’s grave. Most of the crowd was still outside, and then suddenly, someone looked up, and we saw that marching up along the same route that the Timorese had come came a long column of Indonesian troops, dressed in brown, holding M-16s in front of them, marching in a very slow, deliberate fashion —hundreds and hundreds of troops, coming straight at the Timorese.
AMY GOODMAN: Allan suggested we walk to the front of the crowd between the soldiers and the Timorese, because although we knew that the army had committed many massacres, we hoped that we, as foreign journalists, could serve as a shield for the Timorese. Standing with headphones on and microphone and camera out in full view, we went and stood in the middle of the road, looking straight at the approaching troops. Behind us, the crowd was hushed as some Timorese tried to turn away, but they were hemmed in by cemetery walls.
ALLAN NAIRN: The soldiers marched straight up to us. They never broke their stride. We were enveloped by the troops, and when they got a few yards past us, within a dozen yards of the Timorese, they raised their rifles to their shoulders all at once, and they opened fire. The Timorese, in an instant, were down, just torn apart by the bullets. The street was covered with bodies, covered with blood. And the soldiers just kept on coming. They poured in, one rank after another. They leaped over the bodies of those who were down. They were aiming and shooting people in the back. I could see their limbs being torn, their bodies exploding. There was blood spurting out into the air. The pop of the bullets, everywhere. And it was very organized, very systematic. The soldiers did not stop. They just kept on shooting until no one was left standing.
FORD, KISSINGER AND THE INDONESIAN INVASION, 1975-76
The Indonesian invasion of East Timor in December 1975 set the stage for the long, bloody, and disastrous occupation of the territory that ended only after an international peacekeeping force was introduced in 1999. President Bill Clinton cut off military aid to Indonesia in September 1999—reversing a longstanding policy of military cooperation—but questions persist about U.S. responsibility for the 1975 invasion; in particular, the degree to which Washington actually condoned or supported the bloody military offensive. Most recently, journalist Christopher Hitchens raised questions about the role of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in giving a green light to the invasion that has left perhaps 200,000 dead in the years since. Two newly declassified documents from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, released to the National Security Archive, shed light on the Ford administration’s relationship with President Suharto of Indonesia during 1975. Of special importance is the record of Ford’s and Kissinger’s meeting with Suharto in early December 1975. The document shows that Suharto began the invasion knowing that he had the full approval of the White House. Both of these documents had been released in heavily excised form some years ago, but with Suharto now out of power, and following the collapse of Indonesian control over East Timor, the situation has changed enough that both documents have been released in their entirety.
Other documents found among State Department records at the National Archives elucidate the inner workings of U.S. policy toward the Indonesian crisis during 1975 and 1976. Besides confirming that Henry Kissinger and top advisers expected an eventual Indonesian takeover of East Timor, archival material shows that the Secretary of State fully understood that the invasion of East Timor involved the "illegal" use of U.S.-supplied military equipment because it was not used in self-defense as required by law.
Although Indonesia was a major site of U.S. energy and raw materials investment, an important petroleum exporter, strategically located near vital shipping lanes, and a significant recipient of U.S. military assistance, the country—much less the East Timor question—barely figures into Henry Kissinger’s memoirs of the Nixon and Ford administrations. Gerald Ford’s memoir briefly discusses the December 1975 visit to Jakarta but does not mention the discussion of East Timor with Suharto. Indeed, as important as the bilateral relationship was, Jakarta's brutal suppression of the independence movement in East Timor was a development that neither Ford nor Kissinger wanted people to remember about their time in power. That the two decided on a course of action of dubious legality and that resulted in the slaughter of thousands of Timorese may well have also discouraged further reflection, at least in public. No doubt the omissions from Ford's and Kissinger's memoirs also reflect the low priority that East Timor had during the Ford administration. For senior officials, the fate of a post-colonial East Timor paled in comparison to the strategic relationship with the anti-communist Suharto regime, especially in the wake of the communist victory in Vietnam, when Ford and Kissinger wanted to strengthen relations with anti-communists and check left-wing movements in the region.(1) But it is not simply a matter of omission; on several occasions Kissinger has explicitly denied that he ever had substantive discussions of East Timor with Suharto, much less having consented to Indonesian plans.(2) The new evidence contradicts Kissinger's statements: Indonesian plans for the invasion of East Timor were indeed discussed with Suharto, and Ford and Kissinger gave them the green light. As Kissinger advised Suharto on the eve of the invasion: "it is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly" but that "it would be better if it were done after we returned" to the United States.
Although these new documents shed important light on U.S. policy toward the East Timor question in 1975, much more needs to be learned about U.S. policymaking during 1975 and 1976. Unfortunately, most of the relevant sources are classified. The large collection of Kissinger-Scowcroft office files at the Ford Library remains unavailable, as are the records of the State Department’s Indonesia desk and the Bureau of East Asian Affairs for the 1970s. The State Department's recent acquisition of Henry Kissinger's telephone conversation transcripts might include important material, although they will probably reflect the relatively low priority that the policymakers gave to the East Timor question.
5 replies, 1737 views
UN peacekeepers exit East Timor: The legacy of Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger's massacre remains (Original post)
Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)
Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:21 AM
dipsydoodle (42,239 posts)
1. See Pilger too
In 1993 Pilger slipped into East Timor and shot Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy. The revelations of this film helped alert the British public to the horror of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, which began in 1975. Death of a Nation helped prompt an international outcry which ultimately led to Indonesian withdrawal from East Timor and eventual independence in 2000. When Death of a Nation was screened in Britain it was the highest rating documentary in 15 years and 5,000 telephone calls per minute were made to the programme's action line. When Death of a Nation was screened in Australia in June 1994, Foreign Minister Gareth Evans declared that Pilger "had a track record of distorted sensationalism mixed with sanctimony."
Full documentary here : http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/timor-conspiracy/
On the subject of Indonesia all you really need to do is search Kissenger and Freeport :
example here -
To this day, Kissinger maintains that the timing of his 1975 Jakarta visit was a mere coincidence and the United States had no role in the invasion. But a partially declassified State Department document of the December 6 meeting, minutes of a December 18 Washington meeting with his top advisers and other documents have been enough to convince most historians that the United States was complicit in planning, arming and supporting the invasion.
As a recent editorial in the Asian Times noted, "Kissinger is an accomplished liar in the service of his nation and his personal image' Not to mention his bank account. The strength of his fellowship for the Indonesian people is at least rivaled by that of his financial ties to the world's largest gold mine, located in the remote province of Irian Jaya (now called West Papua). Kissinger sits on the board of New Orleans-based Freeport McMoRan Gold and Copper, the majority shareholder in the massive mining operation, which also happens to be Indonesia's biggest taxpayer. Friends and family of Suharto, who was ousted in 1998, still hold much of the minority stake in the mine.
In another "coincidence," Kissinger's trip to Jakarta came at a time of rising Indonesian dissatisfaction with the mining giant and the terms of its operating contract, which was negotiated during the height of Indonesian cronyism and U.S. dependence. Recently, after several Indonesian legislators visited the company's 10,000-square-mile mining operation, Jakarta rejected a glowing environmental impact statement prepared by a firm hired by Freeport.
The government indicated it might review Freeport's contract to operate in Indonesia. But settling into his new role of adviser, Kissinger proffered his first words of wisdom. Chiding Jakarta for failing to guarantee strict adherence to working contracts signed in the past, he cautioned that "it is in the interests of Indonesia" to honor the contract. "Investors also expect an assurance in law enforcement," Kissinger reportedly reminded Yasril Ananta Baharuddinn, chairman of the House of Representative's defense commission.
Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #1)
Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:54 AM
UnrepentantLiberal (11,700 posts)
2. That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?
Much like South America. Eisenhower's Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles' brother, Allen Dulles, was the director of the CIA, and a board member of United Fruit Company.
The United Fruit Company (UFCO) owned vast tracts of land in the Caribbean lowlands. It also dominated regional transportation networks through its International Railways of Central America and its Great White Fleet of steamships. In addition, UFCO branched out in 1913 by creating the Tropical Radio and Telegraph Company. UFCO's policies of acquiring tax breaks and other benefits from host governments led to it building enclave economies in the regions, in which a company's investment is largely self-contained for its employees and overseas investors and the benefits of the export earnings are not shared with the host country.
One of the company's primary tactics for maintaining market dominance was to control the distribution of banana lands. UFCO claimed that hurricanes, blight and other natural threats required them to hold extra land or reserve land. In practice, what this meant was that UFCO was able to prevent the government from distributing banana lands to peasants who wanted a share of the banana trade. The fact that the UFCO relied so heavily on manipulation of land use rights in order to maintain their market dominance had a number of long-term consequences for the region. For the company to maintain its unequal land holdings it often required government concessions. And this in turn meant that the company had to be politically involved in the region even though it was an American company. In fact, the heavy-handed involvement of the company in governments which often were or became corrupt created the term "Banana republic" representing a "servile dictatorship". The term Banana Republic was coined by American writer O. Henry.
UFCO had a mixed record on promoting the development of the nations in which it operated. In Central America, the Company built extensive railroads and ports and provided employment and transportation. UFCO also created numerous schools for the people who lived and worked on Company land. On the other hand, it allowed vast tracts of land under its ownership to remain uncultivated and, in Guatemala and elsewhere, it discouraged the government from building highways, which would lessen the profitable transportation monopoly of the railroads under its control. UFCO had also destroyed at least one of those railroads upon leaving its area of operation.
In 1954, the democratically elected Guatemalan government of Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán was toppled by U.S.-backed forces led by Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas who invaded from Honduras. Assigned by the Eisenhower administration, this military opposition was armed, trained and organized by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (see Operation PBSUCCESS). The directors of United Fruit Company (UFCO) had lobbied to convince the Truman and Eisenhower administrations that Colonel Arbenz intended to align Guatemala with the Soviet Bloc. Besides the disputed issue of Arbenz's allegiance to Communism, UFCO was being threatened by the Arbenz government’s agrarian reform legislation and new Labor Code. UFCO was the largest Guatemalan landowner and employer, and the Arbenz government’s land reform included the expropriation of 40% of UFCO land. U.S. officials had little proof to back their claims of a growing communist threat in Guatemala, however the relationship between the Eisenhower administration and UFCO demonstrated the influence of corporate interest on U.S. foreign policy. United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was an avowed opponent of Communism, whose law firm Sullivan and Cromwell had represented United Fruit. His brother Allen Dulles was the director of the CIA, and a board member of United Fruit. United Fruit Company is the only company known to have a CIA cryptonym. The brother of the Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican Affairs John Moors Cabot had once been president of United Fruit. Ed Whitman, who was United Fruit’s principal lobbyist, was married to President Eisenhower's personal secretary, Ann C. Whitman. Many individuals who directly influenced U.S. policy towards Guatemala in the 1950s also had direct ties to UFCO. The overthrow of Arbenz, however, failed to benefit the Company. Its stock market value declined along with its profit margin. The Eisenhower administration proceeded with antitrust action against the company, which forced it to divest in 1958. In 1972, the company sold off the last of their Guatemalan holdings after over a decade of decline.
Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)
Tue Jan 1, 2013, 10:52 AM
timor (3 posts)
4. more on Kissinger and East Timor
For more background on Kissinger, Ford and the U.S. role in Indonesia's illegal invasion and occupation see the website of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). Also information about current issues involving all three countries including the pursuit of justice and accountability for those involved. www.etan.org
ETAN was recently awarded the independent Timor-Leste's highest honor, the Order of Timor, for our role in supporting its liberation and our successful effort to change U.S. policy.