The Jihad against East Timor
In this segment from MANUFACTURING CONSENT the invasion of east Timor is highlighted. It is known fact that the Indonesian military had ships docked in Dili harbor specifically for taking loot back to Indonesia aboard ships and that concentration camps were set up. This film will not mention that the ethnic Chinese population was exterminated and the women (and girls) were kept on board Indonesian ships to serve as sex slaves and nobody (at least to my knowledge) has ever investigated this aspect of the invasion. What this film and the activist community did NOT discuss for all these years was that these crimes are permitted under Islam as to how Muslims should treat non-Muslims should they capture their women. Designated as “right hand” possessions these women and girls serviced Muslims in the Indonesian military who were sent to East Timor. These same military personnel profited handsomely from the material thefts as they caroused in their brothels of sex slaves.
The activists simply were pushing the economic aspects such as Kissinger giving the green light for the invasion and publicizing the economic incentives to opening up the offshore oil fields to exploration and military sales to the Suharto regime. In all those years never did the East Timor activist community really talk openly and honestly about the activities of Muslim militias on East Timor (many were collaborators, converts or both). The lack of discussion also includes the role of the imams in Jakarta who encouraged this kind of behavior within military ranks. Taking this into account I say shame on the Left and the likes of Noam Chomsky for failing to publicize such things.
The team involved in the editing and production of this movie really had to steer the main focus of this segment in the direction of just discussing the economic aspects by making use of a lie of omission. It’s simply too easy to link these atrocities to Islamic teaching and the role of the ulema (Muslim clergy) back in Java. De-linking or engaging in apologetics that veer towards downplaying the central importance of Islam in order to explain the depravity of the Indonesian military and how Islamic clergy influenced and financed proselytization of Islam in east Timor during those occupation years is not a simple chore and perhaps the activist community decided that their policy was to maintain a muted and ambivalent platform towards Islamic fanaticism.
Not wanting to be more isolated than they already were in 1975 many east Timor activists decided not to publicize these awful truth lest they offend their pro-Palestinian colleagues on the Left. And in hindsight who could blame them? Outside of “leftish” intellectual circles their plight could not have been publicized to the extent that it was. Without the help of activists who also were active in promoting Palestinian rights it’s quite possible that the facts of the invasion and occupation would have never been heard at all. The academic networks the east Timor activists worked in were already dependent on the Palestinian cause as a framework for direction by the time of the 1975 invasion and so they had to play by the rules. One of them being to not mention Islam as a factor in these atrocities.
What must be mentioned is that the East Timor segment here was presented as an example of the propaganda model that he and Edward Herman had formulated in the Seventies. Chomsky used statistics of US media coverage of east Timor in comparison to coverage of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia that engaged in atrocities and came to the conclusion that the disparities in coverage between the two was evidence of media bias serving ruling elites. There is a grain of truth to all this when one views the post- WWII track record of known US interventions on a global scale but that doesn’t excuse the deliberate refusal to look at the role of religious elites that are, in fact, ruling elites in many societies. In this case Indonesia.
“The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores, and in fact they landed to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world.”- Osama bin Laden, 2001.
“We warned Australia before not to join in [the war] in Afghanistan, and [against] its despicable effort to separate East Timor.
It ignored the warning until it woke up to the sounds of explosions in Bali.
Its government falsely claimed that they [the Australians] were not targeted. ” – Osama bin Laden, 2001
وتناول بن لادن قضية تيمور الشرقية التي اعتبر أن ضغط الدول الصليبية على إندونيسيا انتهى بفصلها “خلال 24 ساعة بتهديد من الأمم المتحدة أيضا، إنها حرب صليبية صهيونية ضد المسلمين”.
“The separation of East Timor from Indonesia is a Zionist-Crusader war against the Muslims. In 24 hours, and under a threat by the UN, compelled Indonesia to let East Timor go.” – Osama bin Laden
The shameful complicity of the United States in the jihad against the Christians of East Timor:
Islamism’s Other Victims: The Tragedy of East Timor
The Left (not to mention the Islamists) never tires of depicting the War on Terror as a case of America vs. Islam. But as readers of this magazine will already know, Moslem fundamentalists have been brutalizing people all over the world for years, and 9/11 was just our belated introduction to the problem. Take, for example, the murderous terror of Indonesian Muslims against Christians in East Timor, mostly unknown in America although Washington aided and abetted it.
East Timor is the eastern end of Timor Island, part of the vast archipelago that today makes up the island state of Indonesia. Originally a Portuguese colony, — it was one of the famous “spice islands” — it became a tempting morsel for the military government of neighboring Indonesia when the Portuguese empire collapsed in a bloodless military coup in 1975. Indonesia did not have any valid claim to it, but President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who were visiting Jakarta, nevertheless approved the Indonesian invasion of the former Portuguese on December 7, 1975. They only asked that the attack be delayed until after their departure.
Kissinger told reporters that “the United States understands Indonesia’s position on the question of East Timor” and the U.S. abstained in the subsequent U.N. vote condemning the invasion. As then-US Ambassador to the UN Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The 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.” Suharto was delighted to have received U.S. support for the invasion because of the Indonesian army’s reliance on American weaponry that, by U.S. law, could only be used for defensive purposes.
The East Timorese did not want to be forcibly incorporated into Indonesia, and an insurgency ensued. Washington continued to supply arms to Indonesia that were obviously not meant for general defense purposes, but specifically chosen to meet the needs of a counterinsurgency campaign. Through two and a half subsequent years of that campaign – leading to the death of about a third of the population – The New York Times ran only two brief stories about “the problem of East Timorese refugees.”
President Suharto’s carnage was on a scale worthy of Pol Pot. By 1989, Amnesty International estimated that Indonesia had murdered 200,000 East Timorese out of a population of 600,000-700,000.
Indonesia’s treatment of religious minorities had already been tested in West Papua. Suharto’s anticommunist credentials enabled him to preserve the support of the U.S. government while he terrorized the inhabitants of Dutch New Guinea, which was handed over to Indonesia in 1962 and its name changed to Irian Jaya, Victorious Irian. The tribal people of West Papua had nothing in common with Indonesia, except that both had previously been ruled by Holland. They are Melanesians and not Indo-Malays, and Christians or animists. Indonesia is an ethnically-diverse nation – frankly, an object lesson in the follies of multiculturalism — consisting of a dominant and expansionist over-populated Javanese core that holds onto its other territories by force.
Under Suharto the army rounded up all the children from the Christian missions and forced them to attend state schools. Passive resistance to Indonesian control was widespread and zealous Muslim officers responded by ordering soldiers to kill the villagers’ pigs, an important element in their basic economy. They soon proceeded to killing people: by September 1973, over 30,000 civilians had been killed by Indonesian troops, the number rising to an estimated 100,000 by 1990.
In the motivation patterns and perceptions of the actors on the ground, killers and victims alike, East Timor was an Islamic jihad against Christian infidels, identical in form and purpose to other tragedies caused by Islam’s insatiable appetite for other people’s lands, property, bodies, and souls. Dili’s bishop, Mgr. Coste Lopez, later stated: “The soldiers who landed started killing everyone they could find. There were many dead bodies in the streets.” They had been told that they were fighting a jihad and whole villages, for example Remexio and Aileu, were slaughtered.
In Dili hundreds of the ethnic Chinese minority were shot and thrown off the wharf into the sea. In Maubara and Luiquica, the entire Chinese populations were wiped out. Nineteen ships were moored in Dili harbor to remove looted cars, radios, furniture, tractors and whatever else could be ransacked. Churches and the seminary were looted and their books burnt. Many priests had moved to the hills with their flocks and were able to report on the massacres of children in Lospalos, Viqueque, Amoro and Sumalai. Priests were beaten, churches invaded and their congregations arrested. By November 1976, the death toll had reached 100,000. The military focused on the more educated strata of Timorese seminarians, teachers, nurses and public officials.
Australian Consul to East Timor, James Dunn, reported that East Timorese refugees were not even safe in West Timor: two thousand men, women and children had been burnt or shot to death at Lamaknan. At the concentration camp on Atauro island, the prisoners were given one small can of corn per person per week. They had to supplement this with leaves, roots or whatever else they could find. Punishment for listening to foreign broadcasts or speaking in Portuguese included beatings, burning with cigarettes on face and genitals, electric shock, water immersion and the removal of toe nails.
Once East Timor was out of the way the next target was the Christian minority in Indonesia itself. In 1999-2000 the persecution, destruction of property, and killing of Indonesia’s Christians amounted a deliberate campaign of religious cleansing, actively abetted by the Indonesian military, which is overwhelmingly Muslim. Independent television footage has proved that there have been numerous instances of soldiers, marines and police taking sides.
The worst atrocities were committed on the island of Ambon, where an upsurge in violence followed the arrival of 2,000 Laskar Jihad members—a militant Moslem force determined to join the ‘holy war’ against the Christians on the island—from Java and South Sulawesi. Indonesian soldiers sent to the Molucca Islands were fighting alongside militant Muslims, leading to calls by the Christians for a neutral UN peacekeeping force. Most of the fighting took place around the city of Ambon. Violence in North Halmahera has resulted in up to 100,000 people fleeing their homes for the jungles and mountains.
In the face of the Muslims’ better co-ordination, and signs that the Indonesian armed forces aided (or at least not prevented) Muslim attacks, the Christians were in disarray. The campaign of anti-Christian violence finally abated in 2001, after Muslim migrants from the overpopulated islands of Java and Sulawesi had been well established in the homes and on the lands of expelled Christians.
Incidents like those that took place in East Timor seem trivial to most Americans when they read their morning newspapers. But hopefully, people are gradually learning that these incidents, which have been happening – and continue to happen – all over the world, are all pieces of the larger problem of Islam’s inability to establish benign political relations with the rest of the world. A world which includes us. And they reinforce the crucial lesson that this whole situation is not something America created or is America’s fault. Islam is unique among the civilizations of the world today in terms of its inability to get along with others.
Serge Trifkovic received his PhD from the University of Southampton in England and pursued postdoctoral research at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. His past journalistic outlets have included the BBC World Service, the Voice of America, CNN International, MSNBC, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Times of London, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He is foreign affairs editor of Chronicles.
One in a series of excerpts adapted by Robert Locke from Dr. Serge Trifkovic’s new book, The Sword of the Prophet: A Politically-Incorrect Guide to Islam