intelNews.org US threatened Indonesia with war during 1999 East Timor crisis September 5, 2009 By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS - The Clinton Administration threatened to go to war with Indonesia in 1999, if Jakarta resisted an Australian-led plan to grant independence to what was then Indonesia’s province of East Timor. The revelations were made by former American and Australian military officials quoted in a new book titled The March of Patriots: The Struggle for Modern Australia.
According to Pentagon official James Schear and Dr. Ashton Calvert, the late Director of the Australian Foreign Affairs Department, US Secretary of Defense William Cohen met with Indonesia’s President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie and Defense Minister General Wiranto, and told them that Washington would retaliate militarily if Jakarta contested the planned deployment of an Australian-led UN force in East Timor.
The revelation may shed different light on the Clinton Administration’s perceived inaction in the face of repeated massacres of East Timorese by Indonesian government troops in 1999. The March of Patriots also reveals that the administration of Australian Prime Minister John Howard worked secretly for East Timor’s independence in 1999, despite its officially expressed preference for East Timor to remain part of Indonesia. The official policy was shared by the Australian Defense Department, which was apparently kept in the dark by the Howard Administration.