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Jakarta Post

US stood by as Indonesia deployed militia in Timor Leste conflict: Declassified documents

  • Dian Septiari
    Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Thu, August 29, 2019   /  10:50 am
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Wearing different hats: Coordinating Political, Security and Legal Affairs Minister Wiranto (right) and Timor Leste’s lead border negotiator Xanana Gusmao exchange documents as part of an agreement on land borders signed in Jakarta, on July 22. Both figures were instrumental actors during Timor Leste’s independence referendum in 1999.(Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

The United States government was aware for months that Indonesia’s armed forces had created, armed and directed militias in Timor Leste in the lead-up to its referendum 20 years ago, recently declassified US government files have revealed. More than 200 documents produced in 1999 by the US Embassy in Jakarta, State Department, Defense Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Pacific Command and Defense Department were declassified and obtained by the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research and archival institution at George Washington University. In the year leading up to the Timorese referendum vote on Aug. 30, 1999, the US administration under president Bill Clinton was already aware that the then-Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) was determined to thwart the independenc...