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Allan Nairn's Statement to His Indonesian Captors

American Journalist Allan Nairn was arrested last weekend in East Timor he has now issued a statement to his captors. Nairn writes for The Nation (www.thenation.com) newspaper.

Allan Nairn's Statement to His Indonesian Captors

I know that the army has put me on the black list. They did this because I watched their soldiers murder more than 271 people at the Santa Cruz cemetery. This crime was the responsibility of the Indonesian army commander, General Try Sutrisno and the Minister of Defense, General Benny Murdani.

The murders were committed with American M-16 rifles. The American government also bears some of the responsibility because they have armed, trained, and given money to the TNI/ABRI, even though they knew the TNI/ABRI is led by murderers and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Timorese, Acehnese, West Papuan and Indonesian civilians.

Because I survived the massacre and denounced the crime to the outside world, the TNI/ABRI and the Suharto government banned me as a "threat to national security." That ban has been reaffirmed by each subsequent TNI/ABRI commander, including General Tanjung and General Wiranto.

I do not think that I am a threat to the Indonesian or Timorese people, but I hope that I am a threat to General Wiranto and General Tanjung, and the other present and former leaders of the TNI/ABRI. I believe that they feel threatened by anyone who would expose their crimes. General Wiranto and Generals Bambang, Zacky, Syafei, Kiki, and many others, for example, are responsible for the current militia terror in occupied East Timor and for the increase in repression against the people of Aceh. This is no secret to the people of Timor or to the people of Indonesia or Aceh. They have suffered for decades under the repression and corruption of TNI/ABRI.vMany brave Indonesians, Timorese, Acehnese, and West Papuans have been killed, arrested, tortured or raped because they dared to criticize the army and demand their right to freedom.

As a foreigner and a journalist, particularly an American journalist, I know that I enjoy a certain de facto political leeway that enables me to say things that local people would be killed for saying. I have tried to use that privilege to tell the truth about TNI/ABRI. If, because of this, the army feels they must arrest or jail me, then I know that there is nothing I can do to stop them. But they know that they cannot arrest or kill all the people of Indonesia. That is why they are now so fearful, and that is why I believe they will lose their desperate struggle to retain their hold on power and their police state.

During my most recent detention, I have been interrogated by officials from army Intel, police Intel, Kopassus Group 5, and many other units. They have asked me many questions about my political motives and opinions. I would summarize my opinions this way:

I am pro human rights, pro democracy, and anti TNI/ABRI. I am a supporter of the people of East Timor, Aceh, West Papua, and Indonesia, and an opponent of the officials who have repressed and exploited them.

As an American citizen who is visiting Indonesia and occupied East Timor, I also want to be clear that I believe in even-handedness. The same political, moral and legal standards that are applied to TNI/ABRI officers should also be applied to the officers and political leaders of the United States. So while I support the UN Secretary-General's call for war crimes and crimes against humanity prosecution on East Timor, I think that the prosecution should not be limited to Indonesian officials. Foreign officials who were accomplices to atrocities in East Timor, and provided both murder weapons and the logistics of repression should also be charged, prosecuted and if convicted, jailed.

Pragmatically, it is hard to imagine General Wiranto sitting in jail. It is even harder to imagine President Clinton as his cellmate. But justice should be impartial.

It is time for the genocide to end. Untold thousands of Timorese lie slaughtered. Their families are bereft. The victims of Santa Cruz, Liquica, and Suai can no longer speak. Those of us who can should insist that the killing stop right now. And we should also insist that the killers face justice, regardless of who they are.

These same principles apply of course to atrocities everywhere. I think that this is a simple idea and that most people would agree.

If General Wiranto or any other officials have further questions about my views, I would be glad to answer them personally at a time and place of their choosing. I would also be glad to give details on the crimes referred to above, and on the complicity in them of General Wiranto and other officials.

ENDS

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