New Trouble for an Obama Nominee: Admiral Dennis Blair Aided Perpetrators of 1999 Church Killings in East Timor
“Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reveals Admiral Dennis Blair played a critical role in backing the Indonesian occupation of East Timor during the 1990s. At the height of a wave of ruthless attacks on Timorese that killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands, Blair personally informed top Indonesian general, Wiranto, of unwavering US support. He continued to support the Indonesian military until international outcry forced the Clinton administration to withdraw its military and diplomatic backing. [includes rush transcript]
ALLAN NAIRN(*): Well, Admiral Blair was involved in supporting the Indonesian armed forces as they were massacring churches in East Timor, as they were killing civilians in 1999 in the run-up to a UN-sponsored free election. That election was due to decide whether East Timor would become independent. The Indonesian army was trying to stop the occupied Timorese from voting for independence, so they set up militias, which went on rampages.
In one incident, they went into a church in Liquica where refugees were hiding. They massacred them with machetes. Their flesh was found plastered to the walls. Two days after that, Admiral Blair went to meet with the Indonesian commander, General Wiranto, and he gave him reassurances that the US was still behind him. He offered him new US military aid. And even though Blair had been told by the State Department and the White House to tell Wiranto to stop the massacres, Blair did not do that. This is according to classified US cables which I obtained in 1999 and reported in The Nation magazine.
After that, when people at the State Department heard about what Blair had done, he was told to talk to Wiranto again. He again spoke to Wiranto, on the phone, and again reassured him, offered him new US military aid. Blair even offered Wiranto aid for the specific unit, the Brimob, the paramilitary police who had gone into that church as they chopped up the refugees and chopped up the clergy who were hiding there. General Wiranto naturally took this as reassurance. He escalated the attacks. Wiranto was later indicted for crimes against humanity. Blair has not been held to account.
And now, they say Obama wants to make him Director of National Intelligence. You know, Richardson is in trouble. […]” (Democracy Now)