back to Contents... 
continue reading... 

Other supporters of Indonesia

Five months before the invasion, President Suharto visited Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Canada. One of the four items for discussion was "Prospects and Developments in Portuguese Timor." The meeting went well for Suharto—Canada pledged an additional CDN$200 million in aid. Several attempts to discover the nature of the discussions (by means of Access to Information requests) have been unsuccessful, but Canada's behavior following the invasion—under both Liberal and Conservative governments—provides some clues. 

Canada abstained from voting on the first five UN General Assembly resolutions on East Timor, and voted No on the last three. Indonesia has consistently been among the top five recipients of Canada's direct, country-to-country aid, receiving CDN$40–$70 million annually. 

Canadian investments in Indonesia are estimated at CDN$5 billion, with Inco Ltd.'s vast nickel-mining operation in Sulawesi leading the way. Drawn by cheap labor and lax environmental regulations, Inco has been expanding in Indonesia while laying off workers at home. 

Canada has sold weapons to Indonesia—both directly and through sales to US arms companies who sell to Indonesia—and many of those weapons have been used in East Timor. Arms sales, halted in 1992, resumed under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 1993, whose government has identified Indonesia as a prime trade target. In the first year-and-a-half of Liberal government, Canada issued permits valued at CDN$5.7 million for arms exports to Indonesia. It's now Canada's largest export market in Southeast Asia, with two-way trade exceeding a billion dollars a year. 

In November 1994, Chrétien signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Indonesia, the first step toward providing it with Canadian nuclear reactor technology. This is alarming, since other countries have in the past used such technology to help develop nuclear weapons. 

Japan cast negative votes on all eight UN General Assembly resolutions on East Timor. Its cozy relationship to the Suharto government can only be understood in light of the fact that, in 1975, it was the second largest foreign investor in Indonesia (now it's the largest). 

According to a 1992 International Monetary Fund report, Japan received 37% of Indonesia's exports in 1991 (predominately oil and natural gas) and provided Indonesia with 25% of its imports. Japan is also the principal giver of economic aid to Jakarta, providing 69% of all the direct, country-to-country aid Indonesia received in 1992. 

A Diplomatic White Paper from the Japanese government makes it quite clear how important Indonesia has become to Japan's future: 

Indonesia has a strong, mutually dependent relation with Japan through provision of oil and natural gas and acceptance of direct investment. And Indonesia is a very important country for Japan because it is located in an area with important international sea routes and because it has a large political influence in Southeast Asia.
East Timor—a tiny half-island with relatively few resources—can scarcely compete with what Indonesia has to offer. 

In July 1975, when the Indonesians were in the early stages of Operation Komodo, the British ambassador to Indonesia wrote to the Foreign Office that "the people of Portuguese Timor are in no condition to exercise their right to self-determination." But he added that it would be best not to acknowledge this openly: 
Certainly as seen from here it is in Britain's interest that Indonesia should absorb the territory as soon as and as unobtrusively as possible; and that if it come to the crunch and there is a row in the United Nations we should keep our heads down and avoid siding with the Indonesian government.
Britain abstained from all eight votes on East Timor in the UN General Assembly, and continues to sell arms to Indonesia. In 1978, the British government licensed the sale of eight British-made Hawk ground attack jets, which ABRI used in its saturation bombing during the encirclement and annihilation campaign (for more about this, see pp. 50–65 below). Recently, the sale of 24 more Hawk aircraft was approved. In 1992, Britain was the sixth largest foreign investor in Indonesia, and one source now ranks it as Jakarta's top arms supplier. 

Billions of dollars in grants and bank credits have been bestowed on the genocidal Suharto regime by the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI), a consortium of donor countries and organizations that includes Japan, the US, France, Britain, the Netherlands and Germany (the last two are also major arms suppliers to Indonesia). Since its inception in 1967, IGGI members have steadily increased their aid to Jakarta. 

Today, Indonesia is the third largest debtor nation in the developing world (after Mexico and Brazil). Despite the Santa Cruz massacre, Western support for Indonesia continues unabated.

back to Contents... 
continue reading... 

[For a hard copy of this book, try your local bookstore or call Odonian Press at 800 REAL STORY.  Or visit Common Courage Press]