|Protesters Confront Kissinger
Kissinger also interviewed on New York radio
Former U.S. Secretary of State is out promoting his new memoir on his service during the Gerald Ford administration. The book, Years of Renewal, contains no mention of East Timor. While Indonesia is listed some half a dozen times in the index, these refer only to mentions of the planned or finished trip to the region. No mention is made of what actually happened during the December 6 visit he made with Ford to Indonesia when they gave the go ahead for Indonesia to invade East Timor. Neither is there mention of the announced cut off of weapons to Indonesia, the flow of which was soon after resumed, or of the genocide that resulted from the invasion.
Protests were held in New York and Washington at appearances by Kissinger (keep an eye out to see if he is coming to your town). In New York, a coalition of groups (ETAN, War Resisters League and groups focused on Chile and Latin America) picketed outside a Barnes and Noble bookstore, while about 8 people went inside with their hands painted red and wearing Kissinger masks. They were allowed to remain in the audience -- both standing and sitting -- with hands raised throughout Kissinger's less than enlightening talk.
In Washington, about a dozen members and friends (including two visiting East Timorese) of the East Timor Action Network picketed outside the National Press Club, joined by one participant wearing a paper mache Kissinger mask. Kissinger (the real war criminal) walked passed the picket line to enter the building. Questions from the audience were pre-screened.
Look for Kissinger coming to your town and write letters to the editor response to reviews of the book as they appear.
Radio Interview with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on New York and Company, WNYC 820AM, New York, NY Host Leonard Lopate March 19, 1999
[East Timor, Indonesia excerpt only.]
Lopate: In the memoir you mention Indonesia several times but never East Timor. Yet you and President Ford left Jakarta one day before Indonesias invasion of the country and a State Department memorandum says you and Ford gave approval to President Suhartos invasion. They did so with 90% of their weapons coming from the United States.
Kissinger: The a (pauses). I dont know what State Department memorandum you are talking about. We were told at the airport as we left Jakarta that either that day or the next day they intended to take East Timor. Secondly, I cant say that we were great experts on East Timor; its a population of 800,000.
Lopate: 200,000 of whom have died since that invasion.
Kissinger: That may be so, but I am saying what did we know at the time. It looked to us like the Indian occupation of Goa a few years earlier. And it happened in a year when southeast Asia, Indochina had collapsed. So it wasnt a question of approval but of not being able to do anything about it.
Lopate: Well in the case of Indonesia we are talking about a country that is rich in natural resources. We really overlooked an awful lot in the Suharto years and it is only now that the Indonesians gaining some kind of revenge.
Kissinger: I think you have a very peculiar perspective on foreign policy if I may say so.
Lopate: Probably. Ive never worked in government.
Kissinger: You have a very one-sided approach. I think any objective person would say that tremendous economic strides were made in Indonesia during the Suharto period.
Lopate: But they have all fallen apart havent they. The countries going through a terrible economic turmoil.
Kissinger: No, they fell apart due to the Asian economic crisis and Indonesia is now going through a very big political crisis.
Lopate: But the crisis is brought upon partly by the fact that only a few people were making all the money and they were the friends of Suharto.
Kissinger: That just isnt true. Im not here to defend Suharto. He came into power as result of a communist coup. The communists killed 22 of 24 Indonesian generals.
Lopate. He overthrew Sukarno. Lets go past Indonesia ...