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In the year 1975 East Timor was a tiny half-island off the coast of Australia looking forward to its long-awaited freedom from Portuguese rule Unfortunately Indonesia had other plans for its neighbor and called upon the United States for help To support its own interests the United States supplied considerable amounts of military aid to Indonesia which ultimately ignited the genocide in East Timor Media coverage misled US citizens of the United States role in this matter and the Indonesian alliance continued unmentioned for years In anticipation of its liberation from Portugal the citizens of East Timor formed two main political parties the Timorese Democratic Union UDT and the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor FRETILIN In hopes to disrupt peaceful steps toward independence Indonesia persuaded the UDT to withdraw from the coalition The UDT seized power but FRETILIN fought back and drove many of the members of the UDT over the Indonesian border into West Timor In 1975 Indonesian armies invaded East Timor claiming that intervention was necessary to keep the peace Many of the East Timorese were forced to settle in Indonesian-controlled towns and camps and over 100000 died in the first year of occupation alone The torture and murder of citizens continued for many years and has left the final death toll at 200000 over one third of the overall population of East Timor There is little doubt that the United States and Indonesia had planned the invasion of East Timor as allies In a July 1975 telephone conversation between United States President Gerald Ford and former Indonesian president Suharto Ford is quoted as asking How big a navy do you have and how big a navy do you need On December 6 1975 the day before the first Indonesian attack on East Timor Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger departed from Indonesia which they had visited to meet with Suharto The alliance
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