180k east timorese slaughtered with US help
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Indonesia killed 180,000 in East Timor
20 January 2006
CANBERRA: Indonesia killed up to 180,000 East Timorese through massacres, torture and starvation during its 24-year occupation, a report to be handed to the United Nations has found, an Australian daily said yesterday.
Napalm and chemical weapons were used to poison food and water and some victims were burned or buried while still alive, and others sexually mutilated, the Australian newspaper quoted the report saying.
It said 90 per cent of the 180,000 deaths – almost a third of the pre-invasion population – were caused by starvation and disease, saying starvation was used as a weapon.
"Rape, sexual slavery and sexual violence were tools used as part of the campaign designed to inflict a deep experience of terror, powerlessness and hopelessness upon pro-independence supporters," the paper quoted the report saying.
The Australian said the study was a United Nations document, but it was prepared by East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.
The 2,500-page report is based on interviews with 8,000 Timorese, refugees in Indonesia's West Timor, Indonesian military papers and foreign intelligence sources.
"Widespread and systemic executions, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and sexual slavery was officially accepted by Indonesia," the study said.
"The violations were committed in execution of a systematic plan approved, conducted and controlled by Indonesian military commanders at the highest level." Indonesian State Secretary Yusril Ihza Mahendra said on Thursday East Timor and Indonesia had already agreed to work together for reconciliation and solving problems.
"Therefore, there is no need to look at the past because it won't help. . . Better to look at the future," he told reporters when asked about the report.
"If we want to be fair and honest, Western countries had colonised Asia-African countries even worse." The report said Indonesian soldiers and police were responsible for about 70 per cent of the 18,600 unlawful killings or disappearances between the invasion in 1975 and a vote for independence in 1999.
The Australian did not say who caused the other 30 per cent, but pro-independence guerrillas fought Indonesian forces throughout the occupation of the former Portuguese colony.
Indonesian forces "consciously decided to use starvation of East Timorese civilians as a weapon of war", the paper quoted the report – called Chega! (Enough! in Portuguese) – saying.
"The intentional imposition of conditions of life which could not sustain tens of thousands of East Timorese civilians amounted to extermination as a crime against humanity."
The East Timor government has yet to release the report, which it received in October, but is expected to hand it to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan this week, the Australian said.
The report recommends reparations by Indonesia, and countries that provided backing for its military during the years of occupation, including Australia, Britain and the United States.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 after Portugal abruptly quit the harsh, mountainous area just north of Australia.
When Timorese voted to break away in 1999. it triggered a wave of violence by militias backed by Indonesian army elements.
The UN estimates about 1,000 East Timorese were killed in the violence, in which most of the towns were also destroyed.
Only a handful of people have been punished.