Contact: John M. Miller, +1-718-596-7668, 917-690-4391
December 5 – "President-elect Barack Obama’s rumored selection of Admiral Dennis C. Blair for Director of National Intelligence is unacceptable," the East Timor and
"During his years as Pacific Commander, Blair actively worked to reinstate military assistance and deepen ties to
"His actions demonstrate the failure of engagement to temper the Indonesian military’s behavior and his actions helped to reinforce impunity for senior Indonesian officials that continues to this day," added Miller. He undermined the
“It is unfathomable that Obama would consider appointing someone to such a prominent position who has shown so little concern for human rights in the past. Can we expect someone who has sought to undermine efforts to link human rights to military assistance to be a champion of reform? We don’t think this is the kind of change people are expecting," said Miller.
In April 1999, just days after Indonesian security forces and their militias carried out a brutal churchyard massacre, Adm. Blair delivered a message of ‘business-as-usual’ to Indonesian General Wiranto, then Commander of the Indonesian armed forces. Following East Timor’s pro-independence vote, Blair sought the quickest possible restoration of military assistance, despite
As Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command from February 1999 to May 2002 Blair was the highest ranking U.S. military official in the region during the final period of violence in East Timor, as Indonesian security forces and their militias killed, looted, and destroyed the country’s infrastructure.
In April 1999, Blair met in Jakarta with General Wiranto, then the Defense Minister and the commander of Indonesian forces, just days after dozens of refugees in a Catholic church in the town of Liquica, East Timor were hacked to death by machetes by militia members backed by the military (including Kopassus) and Brimob troops.
Instead of pressuring Wiranto to shut down the militias, Blair promised new military assistance, which the military "took as a green light to proceed with the militia operation," according to Allan Nairn, writing in the Nation magazine at the time. [ http://www.etan.org/et99b/september/26-30/27nairn.htm]
Nairn reported that a classified cable summarizing the meeting said that Admiral Blair "told the armed forces chief that he looks forward to the time when [the army will] resume its proper role as a leader in the region. He invited General Wiranto to come to
Blair was fully aware of what was going on in East Timor at the time: "From a windowless concrete building near Blair’s Pacific Command headquarters, seven intelligence analysts at the "Joint Intelligence Center," the world’s largest military intelligence center, had tracked the movements of Indonesian and militia forces since May 1998," according to the Washington Post.
In the bloody aftermath of East Timor’s independence vote, "Blair and other
Blair has acknowledged that U.S.-trained Indonesian military officers were among those allegedly involved in crimes against humanity in
In April 2000, over the objections of U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Robert S. Gelbard, members of Congress and State Department officials, Blair made the first high-level visit to
Despite Blair’s repeated overtures and forgiving attitude to
The reason was clear:
General Wiranto was indicted in February 2003 by a UN-backed court in
John M. Miller
East Timor &
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