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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Jose Ramos-Horta

Interviewed January 8, 2010

So, back then, I was– opposed to– military training with– Indonesia provided and with more military hardware. So, we lobbied the U.S. Congress. Again– with– U.S. Bishops´– Conference– support– and with the U.S.– media, I mean– in– ´91, ´92, I got a phone call from Peter Jennings, anchorman of– ABC, Channel 7, U.S. I was so surprise that he called me. And– I was in a meeting in– one human rights organization in New York. I got a phone call from Peter Jennings. He asked me to go to see him. And I went.

And he sent a reporter here. The reporter came and did a story on– ABC News. And in that particular story in ABC was instrumental in the change in the U.S. Congress– prohibiting– the so-called– IMET, International Military Education and Training– program. Maybe it didn´t have any impact whatsoever on the actual training of the Indonesian military. But it sent a powerful, political, psychological shock to the Indonesian military.

Later, we lobby hard against the sale of F-16s to Indonesia. Again, you know, the F-16s are never used in counterinsurgency. The Indonesians would never use– F-16 in Timor-Leste. And– but that´s not the point. It was a political message. And it became so controversial, the Indonesians themselves gave up trying to buy the F-16s. That did have– an emotional psychological impact on them. Made them realize that their politics in Timor-Leste had a price that they have to pay for it.

And a country like Indonesia, the Indonesian military, always proud to have relationship with United States– you know, which military in the world doesn´t feel proud to have that, to engage with the U.S. military? Even ours today, you know, when we have– the U.S. military coming and do exercise with F-FDTL, our defense force, w– we are very proud. “We had exercise with the U.S. military.” “We had a visit by U.S. warships.”

“Our– officers went to do training in the U.S.” Anyone is very proud. Anyone who say they´re not proud, they are lying. Even the enemies are very– even the Chinese would love to have– a exercise with the U.S. military. So, when that stop, it does have a political psychological– impact– and significant.