reply to post by Grand Puba
East Timor, 1975 to present:
In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, which lies at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, and which had proclaimed its independence
after Portugal had relinquished control of it. The invasion was launched the day after U. S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger had left Indonesia after giving Suharto permission to use American arms, which, under U.S. Iaw, could not be used for aggression. Indonesia
was Washington's most valuable tool in Southeast Asia.
Amnesty International estimated that by 1989, Indonesian troops, with the aim of forcibly annexing East Timor, had killed 200,000 people out of a
population of between 600,000 and 700,000. The United States consistently supported Indonesia's claim to East Timor (unlike the UN and the EU), and
downplayed the slaughter to a remarkable degree, at the same time supplying Indonesia with all the military hardware and training it needed to carry
out the job.
When the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1978, it was clear to Washington that they might well be that long-dreaded beast-"another
Cuba." Under President Carter, attempts to sabotage the revolution took diplomatic and economic forms. Under Reagan, violence was the method of
choice. For eight terribly long years, the people of Nicaragua were under attack by Washington's proxy army, the Contras, formed from Somoza's
vicious National Guard and other supporters of the dictator. It was all-out war, aiming to destroy the progressive social and economic programs of the
government, burning down schools and medical clinics, raping, torturing, mining harbors, bombing and strafing. These were Ronald Reagan's "freedom
fighters." There would be no revolution in Nicaragua.
What would drive the most powerful nation in the world to invade a country of 110,000? Maurice Bishop and his followers had taken power in a 1979
coup, and though their actual policies were not as revolutionary as Castro's, Washington was again driven by its fear of "another Cuba,"
particularly when public appearances by the Grenadian leaders in other countries of the region met with great enthusiasm.
U. S. destabilization tactics against the Bishop government began soon after the coup and continued until 1983, featuring numerous acts of
disinformation and dirty tricks. The American invasion in October 1983 met minimal resistance, although the U.S. suffered 135 killed or wounded; there
were also some 400 Grenadian casualties, and 84 Cubans, mainly construction workers.
At the end of 1984, a questionable election was held which was won by a man supported by the Reagan administration. One year later, the human rights
organization, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, reported that Grenada's new U.S.-trained police force and counter-insurgency forces had acquired a
reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest, and abuse of authority, and were eroding civil rights.
In April 1989, the government issued a list of more than 80 books which were prohibited from being imported. Four months later, the prime minister
suspended parliament to forestall a threatened no-confidence vote resulting from what his critics called "an increasingly authoritarian style."
Libya refused to be a proper Middle East client state of Washington. Its leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, was uppity. He would have to be punished. U.S.
planes shot down two Libyan planes in what Libya regarded as its air space. The U. S . also dropped bombs on the country, killing at least 40 people,
including Qaddafi's daughter. There were other attempts to assassinate the man, operations to overthrow him, a major disinformation campaign,
economic sanctions, and blaming Libya for being behind the Pan Am 103 bombing without any good evidence.
Washington's bombers strike again. December 1989, a large tenement barrio in Panama City wiped out, 15,000 people left homeless. Counting several
days of ground fighting against Panamanian forces, 500-something dead was the official body count, what the U.S. and the new U.S.-installed Panamanian
government admitted to; other sources, with no less evidence, insisted that thousands had died; 3,000-something wounded. Twenty-three Americans dead,
Question from reporter: "Was it really worth it to send people to their death for this? To get Noriega?"
George Bush: "Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it."
Manuel Noriega had been an American ally and informant for years until he outlived his usefulness. But getting him was not the only motive for the
attack. Bush wanted to send a clear message to the people of Nicaragua, who had an election scheduled in two months, that this might be their fate if
they reelected the Sandinistas. Bush also wanted to flex some military muscle to illustrate to Congress the need for a large combat-ready force even
after the very recent dissolution of the "Soviet threat." The official explanation for the American ouster was Noriega's drug trafficking, which
Washington had known about for years and had not been at all bothered by.
Oh yeah, plus...