bounced from Tony Hartin

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Sep 22 18:54:43 MDT 1999

Can someone tell me the date on this article - posted to the list the other

>[From today's Manchester Guardian]
>The real reason for the United Nation's peacekeeping role in East Timor is
>to maintain Indonesian control....[...]

answer to Tony-->

(David Welch posted this originally)

[From Sept. 21, Guardian]

The Real Reason For The United Nation's Peacekeeping Role In East Timor Is
To Maintain Indonesian Control

By John Pilger

For the few of us who reported East Timor long before it was finally
declared news, the "disclosures" last weekend that Washington had trained
Indonesia's death squads are bizarre. That the American, British and
Australian governments have underwritten proportionally the greatest
savagery since the Holocaust has been a matter of unambiguous record for a
quarter of a century. All it needed was reporting.

In December 1975, after US secretary of state Henry Kissinger returned from
Jakarta, having given Suharto the green light to invade East Timor, he
called his staff together and discussed how a congressional ban on arms to
Indonesia could be circumvented. "Can't we construe a communist government
[in East Timor] as self-defense?" he asked. Told this would not work,
Kissinger gave orders that he wanted arms shipments secretly "started again
in January".

A few weeks later, on January 23 1976, the US ambassador to the United
Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, sent a top-secret cable to Kissinger in
which he boasted about the "considerable progress" he had made in blocking
UN action on East Timor. Moynihan later wrote: "The department of state
desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective [on East Timor].
This task was given to me and I carried it through with no inconsiderable

Since then, there have been overwhelming evidence that the US, Britain and
Australia have trained and armed Indonesian special forces known as
Kopassus, the equivalent of the Nazi Waffen-SS, who spearheaded the
invasion of East Timor and bear much of the responsibility for the death of
a third of the population. In the US, Kopassus officers have been trained
in the tactics of CIA's "phoenix program" in Vietnam, which was the
systematic extermination of tens of thousands of peasants. In Britain,
senior Kopassus officers given training include the main identified in an
Australian inquiry as the officer who ordered the murder of two Australian
TV teams in East Timor in 1974. Last year defense secretary George
Robertson urged the sale of armored vehicles to the Kopassus commander,
General Prabowo, whom he described as "an enlightened officer, keen [on]
human rights".

The Kopassus killers have received perhaps their warmest welcome in nearby
Australia, where the Australian SAS have trained them in "hostile
interrogation" at their base at Swanbourne near Perth. When my film
investigating the west's role in East Timor, Death Of A Nation, opened in
Perth in 1994, Australian federal police went to the cinema and demanded to
know who had told the manager he could show it "without special permission".

It was therefore not surprising that on his arrival in East Timor on
Sunday, Major-General Peter Cosgove, the Australian commander of the UN
force, made a point of congratulating the Indonesian military for its
"first class" assistance and offered reassurances that his job was not to
"disarm the militias". The militias are, of course, the Indonesian
military, Promoted to mythical importance by journalists gulled by western
government officials and diplomats, many are not East Timorese at all, but
Indonesian soldiers in disguise. In secretly briefing its own government,
Australian intelligence described the militias as merely the facade of an
Indonesian "scorched earth" conspiracy, aimed at de-populating East Timor,
and directed by none other than General Wiranto, the defense minister.

Last April, Wiranto was visited by Admiral Dennis Blair, US commander in
chief in the Pacific who assured him of continued US backing,. "Wiranto was
delighted," reported Alan Nairn in the New York Nation, "[and] took this as
a green light to proceed with the militia operation." Two weeks ago,
President Clinton declared East Timor "still part of Indonesia" - a little
like saying, in 1940, that occupied France was a part of Nazi Germany.

The real agenda for the UN "peacekeeping" is to ensure that East Timor,
while nominally independent in the future, remains under the sway of
Jakarta and western business interests. For the Australian government, the
urgent priority is to maintain the piratical Timor Gap treaty with
Indonesia, which divides up East Timor's vast oil and gas reserves. For the
British, in one sense the empire was reborn in Suharto's Indonesia, where
much of British business is in league with the Suharto mafia. In the
Observer on Sunday, Robin Cook continued to lay claim to the title of
Britain's most discredited politician with his statement that for two years
no government "has done more for East Timor" and "arms sales have all but
vanished". As he spoke, three Hawk fighters were approved fir their onward
journey from Bangkok to Jakarta.

What terrifies the western powers is that the Indonesian military will be
weakened and unable to control a second uprising by Indonesian students for
real democracy. In the meantime, those fearless sleuths in the British
media pursing grey haired "agents of influence" from the cold war might
reflect on the fact that the cold war is still being waged by Washington
and Whitehall with the blood of impoverished, brown-skinned people in East
Timor. Only true agents of influence dare not say this.

[John Pilger is an Australian film-maker and journalist who has been
championing East Timorese independence for the past 20 years.]

Louis Proyect

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