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President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (far left) at an arrival ceremony in Jarkarta with Indonesian President Suharto, December 5, 1975

The Indonesia/East Timor
Documentation Project

Director: Brad Simpson
Assistant Professor of History and International Affairs
Princeton University
bsimpson@princeton.edu
609/751-8206

Previous postings
January 24, 2006
East Timor truth commission finds U.S. "political and military support were fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation"
"Responsibility" chapter published on Web by National Security Archive
November 28, 2005
A Quarter Century of U.S. Support for Occupation
East Timor Truth Commission report uses declassified U.S. documents to call for reparations from U.S. for its support of Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor from 1975 until U.N. sponsored vote in 1999
July 9, 2004
Indonesia's 1969 Takeover of West Papua Not by "Free Choice"

Document Release Marks 35th Anniversary of Controversial Vote and Annexation
December 6, 2001 East Timor Revisited
Ford, Kissinger and the Indonesian Invasion, 1975-76
July 27, 2001
CIA Stalling State Department Histories

Blocks Release of Information on Indonesia's Campaign Against PKI in 1965-66
External Links

Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor

International Center for Transitional Justice

New - January 28, 2008
Suharto: A Declassified Documentary Obit

About the Project

Since 2002, the National Security Archive's Indonesia / East Timor documentation project has sought to identify and seek release of thousands of secret U.S. documents concerning U.S. policy toward Indonesia and East Timor from 1965-1999. It aims to assist East Timorese and Indonesian official and nongovernmental efforts to document and seek accountability for more than three decades of human rights abuses committed during the rule of Indonesian President Suharto (1965-1998). The project is directed by Brad Simpson, an Assistant Professor of U.S. history and foreign relations at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with assistance from staff and researchers at the National
Security Archive, including William Burr, Barbara Elias, Michael Evans, Tamara Feinstein, Kyle Hammond and Hikaru Tajima.

We are using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to compel U.S. government agencies such as the State Department, Defense Department, Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency to review and release documents on U.S. policy toward Indonesia and East Timor between 1965-1999 in three "project areas:"

1. U.S. - Indonesian military relations (1965-1999)
2. Human rights abuses during the Suharto era (1965-1998)
3. The Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor (1974-1999)

In addition, we are conducting research at the U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries to gather recently released documents and seek declassification of still secret materials.

During 2003-2004, we are working with East Timor's Commission for Truth, Reception and Reconciliation (CAVR) to gather U.S. documents concerning human rights abuses committed during Indonesia's invasion and occupation of East Timor from 1975 through 1999, as well as documents concerning U.S. policy during this period. The CAVR incorporated these materials into its final report, released in January 2006.

As the project continues, we will expand our relationship with Indonesian scholars, lawyers and nongovernmental organizations working to assist their country's transition to democracy, especially those seeking accountability for past human rights abuses and seeking to promote transparency and the public's right to know.

The Indonesia/East Timor documentation project has received generous support from the J.M. Kaplan Foundation, as well as from the Humanities and Social Science Research Committee at Idaho State University.


Indonesia / East Timor Documentation Project in the News

"US propped up Suharto 'despite rights abuses'"
by P. Parameswaran, Agence France Press
Jakarta Post (PDF)
January 29, 2008

"US propped up Suharto despite rights abuses: documents"
by P. Parameswaran
Agence France Press
January 29, 2008

"Released papers implicate Suharto"
By Stephen Fitzpatrick
The Australian
February 1, 2008

"Longtime Indonesian Strongman Suharto Dies at 86"
National Public Radio
January 27, 2008

"Observer: Out in the open"
Comment & Analysis
Financial Times
January 30, 2008

"Report: U.S. Arms Helped Indonesia Attack East Timor"
Washington Post
January 25, 2006

"New documents expose US backing for Indonesian invasion of East Timor"
Agence France-Presse
December 2, 2005

"Thirty Years After the Indonesian Invasion of East Timor, Will the U.S. Be Held Accountable for its Role in the Slaughter?"
Democracy Now!
December 7, 2005

"Files show complicity on Timor"
By Donald Greenlees
International Herald Tribune
December 1, 2005

"Documents show Britain covered up murders of 5 journalists in RI's 1975 invasion of E. Timor"
Associated Press
December 1, 2005

"Government lied to cover up war crimes in 1975 invasion of island"
The Times (UK)
November 30, 2005

"Declassified U.S. Papers Spark Indonesian Rebuke"
Washington Post
July 18, 2004

"US 'concern' over West Papua"
The Australian
July 14, 2004

"U.S. Sacrificed Papua to aid Suharto"
Asia Times Online

July 14, 2004

"U.S. backed sham referendum in Indonesia's Papua province, documents show"
Associated Press
Saturday July 10, 2004, 1:02 PM

 

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