Crimes against Humanity: Japanese Diplomacy, East Timor and the ‘Truth Commission’

For centuries a backwater of Portuguese colonialism at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, East Timor should have won its independence on 28 November 1975 when the majority FRETILIN party declared independence. Days later, ahead of a Portuguese withdrawal, Indonesian forces advancing from Indonesian West Timor invaded and occupied the half-island nation. Declassified documents reveal that, fearful of the emergence of a “Southeast Asian Cuba,” the US Ford Administration abetted the invasion, just as the US emerged as the largest arms supplier to the pro-Western government of General Suharto. Nevertheless, the United Nations never recognized the illegal Indonesian invasion and FRETILIN and supporters, including East Timor’s former colonial overlord, Portugal, waged a successful diplomatic struggle to re-

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