Action Alerts | PMA's newsletter | What's on | Links | How PMA can help you
Help PMA grow | Petition forms | Site map | PMA main page


Action Alert picture

East Timor: Statement from the International Action Center

10 September 1999

Behind the massacre in East Timor: The Indonesian military - a creation of the U.S.

There can be no hiding the genocide taking place in East Timor. As of Sept. 8 the UN estimated that 200,000 people - one quarter of the population! - had been driven from their homes by the systematic rampages of the Indonesian military.

East Timor is a small country in the south Pacific that was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, shortly after it declared independence from Portugal. The present violence began after the people, in a UN- supervised referendum on Aug. 30, voted overwhelmingly for independence, from Indonesia.

The Indonesian troops' bloody attacks on UN facilities and personnel as well as on the East Timorese have evoked worldwide condemnation.

While Washington is talking weakly about respecting democracy and human rights, it is not putting any real pressure on the Indonesian generals, whom it supplies with military aid, nor on the bankers and businessmen--often generals themselves-- whose existence depends on credit from the IMF and World Bank.

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. Washington tipped the balance toward the fascist right wing of the military by training, equipping and financing a coup. The massacres that followed "elated" the State Department and Pentagon.

This fascist terror in East Timor today is a chilling replay of how the U.S.- trained Indonesian military took power in 1965-66. Claiming to help local militias combat communists, the military went from island to island, massacring workers, peasants, students - anyone active in progressive organizations. They destroyed the huge left and anti- imperialist movement in Indonesia by killing at least one million people.

Then, as now, the tone of the U.S. corporate media was fatalistic, as though nothing could be done to stop the slaughter. But this was a cover-up for the U.S. role.

Independent U.S. journalist Allan Nairn has provided documentary evidence of collusion between the Indonesian military, the so-called "militias," and the United States. According to the East Timor Action Network the U.S.-trained elite unit Kopassus is taking part in the current destruction in East Timor.


Washington supported Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975. Pres. Gerald Ford and Sec. of State Henry Kissinger visited Jakarta immediately before the invasion.

A month later, a U.S. State Department official told the daily newspaper The Australian on Jan. 22, 1976, that "In terms of the bilateral relations between the U.S. and Indonesia, we are more or less condoning the incursion into East Timor. The United States wants to keep its relations with Indonesia close and friendly. We regard Indonesia as a friendly, non-aligned nation--a nation we do a lot of business with."

The U.S. government has a consistent record of propping up the fascist military against popular movements. The Indonesian military, in turn, has maintained a climate of repression welcomed by U.S. multinational corporations that have flocked to Indonesia to exploit the land and the people.

Critics of U.S. policy who mistakenly believed Washington's propaganda that it attacked Yugoslavia to stop "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo are now appealing to the same imperialists to intervene in this situation. Any U.S. intervention, if it takes place, would be the Haitian type, protecting the interests of the corporations and repressing the people’s movement.


The current reign of terror is directed in the most immediate sense against the 800,000 people of East Timor. But it is also aimed at terrorizing the 200 million Indonesian workers and farmers. After 35 years of brutal fascist rule they have finally begun to organize openly again for their rights. The same U.S.-backed generals are using arrests, killings and jail sentences. However, they have not succeeded in breaking this new workers' movement.

Last summer, huge demonstrations by students and workers led to the resignation of President Suharto, one of the generals who led the 1965 fascist coup. Suharto's close partner, B.J. Habibie, then took over as president. Behind Habibie is the same ferocious military leadership bent on protecting their enormous privileges through bloody terror, if necessary.

For corporate interests there’s a lot at stake. There is $11 billion expected from offshore oil and natural gas in the Timor area, under development by Indonesia and Australia. (July 21, AP)

Demonstrations have been called by solidarity groups in countries around the world. This kind of direct solidarity with the Timorese people against the fascist Indonesian military must be stepped up, but it must also point the finger at U.S. imperialism—the power behind the fascist generals.


International Action Center 39 West 14th Street, Room 296 New York, NY 10011 email:

Link to main East Timor page

Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Action Alerts PMA's newsletter What's on where Peace links Support PMA! How PMA can help you Petition Forms Site Map