|Protesters hold a candlelight vigil outside the
U.S. mission in Dili Tuesday July 4, 2000, demanding an official apology for Washington's complicity in
Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
The 1975-1999 Alliance for Justice
For Immediate Release
10pm, July 4, 2000,
Dili, East Timor
Contact: Nuno Rodrigues (Dili), Mobile phone: (61)(407)182-613
East Timorese Protest at July 4 Party at U.S. Mission in East Timor
Protesters Demand Apology and Reparations from the U.S. for
Washington's Support for Indonesian Invasion and Occupation of their
Over 50 East Timorese held a peaceful demonstration today outside the
entrance of the U.S. Mission in Dili, East Timor from 5pm to 7:30pm.
Participants sang and lit candles along the street in front of the
American diplomatic installation in memory of the more than 200,000 East
Timorese who died as a result of the Indonesian invasion and
The main purpose of the gathering was to recall the supporting role the
United States government played in what many observers have classified as
a genocide in East Timor, and to demand justice and accountability for
U.S. actions. In doing so, the demonstrators distributed pamphlets to all
the attendees of the U.S. independence day party. Titled Honoring
the 224th Anniversary of American Independence, 1776-2000 . . . by
Remembering 24 Years of U.S. Support for Indonesia's Crimes in East Timor,
the pamphlets detailed the complicity of the United States in Indonesia's
illegal war and occupation.
The demonstrators made five demands of Washington:
1) a release of all U.S. government documents relating to East
2) the establishment of an independent commission in the United States
to investigate the nature and extent of U.S. complicity with Indonesia's
crimes in East Timor;
3) an apology for the U.S. role;
4) reparations from the U.S. to the people of East Timor; and
5) active U.S. support for an international tribunal to investigate and
prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in East Timor
from 1975-1999. (See the text of the pamphlet below.)
The 1975-1999 Alliance for Justice is made up of human rights
activists, women's rights advocates, students, members of families
victimized by Indonesia's war, and others. It works to ensure justice and
accountability for the suffering and the destruction that took place in
East Timor during the Indonesian invasion and occupation.
Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! interviews Karen
Orenstein and East Timorese activist Aderito Soares. Hear the RealAudio.
Read the transcript.
Associated Press story on
Text of Pamphlet
a PDF version of the pamphlet (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader,
available from http://www.adobe.com.
U.S. Policy Toward East Timor
What We Would Like the United States Government to Do
Honoring the 224th Anniversary
of American Independence, 1776-2000. . . by Remembering 24 Years of U.S. Support for Indonesia's Crimes
in East Timor
"You cannot deal with the future unless you also come to terms
with the past. . . . Accountability is one of the two or three keys to
--Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nov. 1999
On July 4, the people of the United States of America celebrate the
anniversary of the country's declaration of independence, and their
commitment to the principles of democracy and justice for all. It is in
this spirit that we congratulate the American people and, at the same
time, raise the issue of U.S. complicity in East Timor's suffering. As
Ambassador Holbrooke contends, democracy and accountability must go
hand-in-hand. While an honest assessment of history and a process of
accountability are sometimes uncomfortable, they are vital for the health
of all societies. Such a process will help facilitate socio-political
healing in East Timor, strengthen American democratic values and
institutions, and ensure good future relations between our two countries.
U.S. Policy Toward East Timor, 1975-1999
Many Americans of good will, including some government officials, made
important contributions to East Timor's freedom struggle. And today,
numerous Americans are helping to rebuild East Timor. While we appreciate
such solidarity, we cannot ignore the fact that the overall U.S. policy
toward East Timor from 1975 until Sept. 1999 was one of complicity.
Indonesia could not have carried out its December 7, 1975 invasion and
brutal war of conquest, maintained its almost 24-year-long occupation of
East Timor, and waged its final campaign of terror and destruction last
September without significant military, economic, and diplomatic backing
from the U.S. government. From 1975-1999, the U.S. sold approximately
US$1.2 billion worth of weapons to Indonesia, and trained well over 2,600
Indonesian soldiers trained in the U.S., and countless more in
Indonesia--including the notorious Kopassus troops. The U.S. also provided
over $2 billion in economic aid to Jakarta. Below are some highlights.
December 1975: Only hours after U.S. President Gerald Ford and
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger leave Jakarta, the Indonesian military
launches a full-scale invasion of East Timor. According to diplomats and
CIA officials, Ford and Kissinger gave Indonesian dictator Suharto the
green light to invade. During a press conference in Hawaii while returning
from Jakarta, Kissinger states that, given a choice between East Timor and
Indonesia, the U.S. "had to be on the side of Indonesia." The
State Department later reports that 90 percent of the weapons used during
the invasion are from the U.S.
December 7, 1975-1976: The U.S. prevents effective United
Nations action to end Indonesia's invasion and occupation. As Ford 's U.N.
Ambassador, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, later writes, regarding East Timor,
"The [US] 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."
January 1976: A U.S. State Department official states 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. [It's] a nation we do a lot of business with."
1977: President Jimmy Carter increases military aid to
Indonesia, authorizing the sale of US$112 million worth of weaponry.
Beginning in late 1977, the Indonesian military uses newly-acquired,
U.S.-made aircraft to bomb and napalm the East Timorese in refuge in the
mountains. Tens of thousands die as a result. An Australian government
report describes the period as one of "indiscriminate killing on a
scale unprecedented in post-World War II history.''
Nov.-Dec. 1991: On Nov. 12, Indonesian troops fire on an unarmed
crowd at Dili's Santa Cruz Cemetery and kill hundreds. On Dec. 10, Bush
administration envoys meet with embattled Indonesian military leaders in
Java, telling them "we do not believe that friends should abandon
friends in times of adversity."
1993-1999: Although pressure grows from the American public and
from many in Congress, President Bill Clinton largely continues the
policies of his predecessors. His administration authorizes hundreds of
millions of dollars in weapons sales, provides more than US$500 million in
economic aid, and ignores the intent of Congress by providing training to
the Indonesian military.
Early Sept. 1999: Despite countless killings and massive
destruction by the Indonesian military and their militia, the Clinton
administration refuses to end military and economic support for Indonesia.
U.S. Ambassador to Jakarta, Stapleton Roy, tells reporters that
"Indonesia matters, East Timor does not."
Sept. 10, 1999: In the face of rapidly intensifying public
pressure and Congressional outrage, U.S. President Bill Clinton announces
a suspension of all U.S. economic aid and military ties to Indonesia.
What We Would Like the United States Government to
1) Release all U.S. government documents relating to East Timor from
1974 through 1999, including intelligence files, transcripts of meetings,
and transcripts of intercepted communications between and within the
different sectors of the Indonesian military and government;
2) Create an independent commission composed of academic experts on
U.S. foreign policy, East Timor and Indonesia, human rights advocates, and
international legal specialists with full subpoena power to investigate,
analyze, and report on U.S. involvement in Indonesia's 1975 invasion of
East Timor and the subsequent occupation;
3) Apologize publicly to the people of East Timorese people for U.S.
complicity in the well over 200,000 deaths, massive human suffering and
destruction that took place during Indonesia's invasion and occupation;
and, on this basis,
4) Begin discussions with representatives from the various sectors of
East Timorese society regarding reparations from the United States
Government to the people of East Timor; and
5) Actively support the establishment of an international war crimes
tribunal to investigate and try those guilty of war crimes and crimes
against humanity in East Timor from 1975 through 1999.
"The United States has been directly involved in Indonesia's
crimes in East Timor."--Representative Cynthia McKinney (Member
of Congress from the State of Georgia), Oct. 1999