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Extraction Systems


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By Jean-Pierre Brown

APMCP Year 15 Online

 The transition of power during the de-colonization of imperial holdings has often lead to bloody oppression and a more collusive level of wealth extraction of regions. Ruling nations of the world often use the jargon of autonomy and self-determination to justify a more covert control of global sources of wealth. The collapse of the Portuguese empire was a good example. By the standards of the international community, the subjugation of its colonies was far too visible and openly contestable. It was imperative that the mineral wealth of its colonies change hands to a greater determining power. Simultaneous massive genocides in its former Portuguese holdings of Angola, Mozambique and East Timor were justified in the name of greater world welfare. All three regions were the site of great mineral riches and oil reserves that were seen to be held precariously in the clutches of indigenous governments. It was adroitly recognized that the extraction of the wealth of the region could be more easily negotiated with the collusive Indonesian and South African governments than with the Portuguese and especially a newly independent grass roots movements. This is apparent in the treaties signed with the Australian, American and Indonesian governments regarding the sharing of oil. These treaties were formulated immediately after the first invasion of Dilli. Before any official protest were even formulated in regards to the massacres, American oil companies were reporting large scale findings in the region.

The US has assumed the role of maintaining the global capitalist system and backed the Indonesian government by offering them billions of dollars in military aid with the said objective of disseminating democratic ideals and humanitarian values. East Timoran independence movements found themselves cast into the role of a political time bomb needing immediate defusing. At the outset they were typecast as communist insurgents and then as external forces of terrorism set on disrupting the Indonesian governments ability to rule its country democratically.

Relative to the size of its population, the East-Timor genocide that began in 1975 quickly grew to proportions that are comparable the Holocaust of the 2nd World War. Suharto's vicious regime caused the death of up to a million people and the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of political prisoners. This institutionalized plundering of East Timor was kept secret in order to maintain a fašade of stability visible only through the high return on foreign investment. The only tangible benefits were felt by the industrial societies of the world. To this day few know of the brutal realities incurred in the transition from a colonial system to a larger more subversive new international system of wealth extraction and regional oppression.

Jean-Pierre Brown