December 7 Means More Than Pearl Harbor

December 7, 2001 will mark the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Between the recent Hollywood version of this event and the endless analogies with September 11th, the media focus that day will predictably be squarely on 1941.

While there are undoubtedly many other December Sevenths worth recalling, I'd like to reflect upon two in particular. The first is December 7, 1975 and it involves, among many others, former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. To commence that reflection requires a geography question: What nation has the largest Muslim population? It's not Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Egypt; it's Indonesia. With a populace more than 90 percent Islamic, this South East Asian island nation has conveniently avoided America's notorious anti-Muslim bent by holding claim to the South Pacific's largest supply of oil, the world's most abundant reserve of natural gas, and a bloody anti-communist history. Therefore, while Palestinian Muslims are labeled terrorists for having the audacity to revolt against fifty years of Israeli repression, Indonesian Muslims can get away with murder. Literally. Just ask former Pat Moynihan (dubbed "a gentle genius" by the New York Post when he announced his retirement a few years back).

Some more geography: East Timor is another island nation – a former Portuguese colony just above Australia – that became the target of a relentless and murderous assault by Indonesia since, you guessed it, December 7, 1975. That assault was made possible through the sale of U.S. arms to its loyal client-state, the silent complicity of the American press, and Pat Moynihan's skill at keeping the UN uninvolved at the request of his boss, Dr. Kissinger. Over one-third of the East Timorese population (more than 200,000 humans) lost their lives due to war-related starvation, disease, massacres, or atrocities. Proportionally, the depth of this slaughter is on par with the Nazi Holocaust.

Here's where the gentle genius fits in.

After having served as an advisor to Richard Nixon (an excellent venue for honing skills of genocide), Moynihan was appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations under President Gerald Ford. It was on his watch that the U.S.-backed Indonesian invasion of East Timor took place. Taking orders from his boss, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Moynihan bragged to the Australian ambassador to the UN that he was "under instructions from Kissinger personally not to involve himself in discussions on Timor with Indonesians."

In his book, "A Dangerous Place", the gentle genius further detailed his role in the East Timorese genocide: "The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success."

At that time, Moynihan told the Australian ambassador to the United Nations that he (Moynihan) was "under instructions from Kissinger personally not to involve himself in discussion with Timor with the Indonesians."

As Henry the K once noted (perhaps on the Seventh of December in another year), "Foreign policy should not be confused with missionary work."

The second December 7th I'd like to acknowledge here is 1926. On that date, Noam Chomsky was born. So, I'll take this opportunity to wish the professor many, many more.

For more information on the situation in East Timor, please visit

Mickey Z. (Michael Zezima) is the author of "Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of 'The Good War'" (Soft Skull Press) and a contributor to "You Are Being Lied To" (Disinformation Books). He lives in New York City and can be reached at

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