Friday, January 9, 2009

The Blair Church Massacre, Continued. A Chronology of the Timor Killings.

It is now reported that Admiral Dennis Blair is due to be nominated later today as President-elect Obama's new US Director of National Intelligence.

Blair was implicated in the 1999 East Timor church massacres (See posting of January 6, 2009, "Admiral Dennis Blair. Prospective Obama Appointee Aided Perpetrators of 1999 Church Killings").

Below is a detailed chronology of the killings and related events, based on a UN report.

Though Blair was instructed to tell the killers -- the armed forces of Indonesia -- to stop, he chose not to do so. He did the opposite. He offered them support and US aid, instead, and the killings intensified. They culminated with the torching of the Bishop's house (plus executions), a church massacre of perhaps 200, in Suai, a slaughter at the Catholic diocesan office, the rapes and assassinations of clergy, the burning of perhaps 80% of Timor's housing, and the murders of more than 1,000 civilians.

US cables reported Blair's repeated proffers of support to the Indonesian commander, Gen. Wiranto. UN, CIA, human rights, and international press reports recorded the consequences.

The chronology is based on "ANNEX B - Select Chronology May 1998 - October 1999" of "Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor: Their Nature and Causes" by UN human rights consultant James Dunn, a retired Australian diplomat formerly posted to Timor, who wrote it for UNTAET, the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor. The text below is excerpted from the Dunn report except for the material in square brackets.


May 21: President Suharto [a general, the longtime dictator] of Indonesia is forced from power, and replaced by his vice-president, Dr B J Habibie.

June 9: President Habibie states (to Reuters) that he will consider offering
special status to [Indonesian occupied] East Timor.

June 15: An estimated 15,000 students demonstrate in Dili [Timor's capital], calling for referendum [a UN-supervised vote on independence for Timor], and release of Xanana Gusmao [the imprisoned East Timorese resistance leader]...

August 12: Maj Gen Damiri and Col Tono Suratnam [of TNI, the Indonesian armed forces, run by Gen. Wiranto]meet with [militia leaders] Joao Tavares, Eurico Guterres and Cancio de Carvalho, and tell them they must organise "to protect integration [ie. continuation of the Indonesian occupation]."...

October 6:[Occupation] Governor Abilio Soares demands that all government employees, who oppose integration [the occupation of Timor], resign immediately.

October 11: Rally of 30,000 in Dili calls for Governor's resignation.

October 12: Thousands protest in Baucau [Timor's second city] against TNI
[Wiranto's occupying Indonesian armed forces].

November 1: TNI [Indonesian armed forces] troops carry out a series of raids on villages in Manufahi district.

November 4: Several hundred Kopassus [US-trained Indonesian TNI special forces]
troops reportedly arrive in Kupang for deployment in East Timor.

November 20: UN Secretary General expresses concern over violence in E Timor...

December 27: TNI troops, with Gada Paksi [militia], arrest and allegedly torture four
civilians, and destroy several homes in Maubara district.


January 3: Mahidi Militia kill and injure independence supporters in Ainaro [a town in Timor].

January 24-25: Mahidi [militia], with TNI [Indonesian armed forces] involvement, kill 4 in Zumalai [a town in Timor].

January 27: It is announced in Jakarta that [Indonesian President] Habibie will ask the MPR [the upper house of the Indonesian legislature] to approve independence [for occupied East Timor] if a special vote for autonomy [permanent, modified occupation]
is rejected.

February 8: Bishop Belo and Jose Ramos Horta [a Timorese leader,and, with Bishop Belo, a Nobel Peace Prize winner] declare that East Timor should become independent, after a period of Autonomy.

February 15: BMP [militia] group and local TNI attack Guiso village in Maubara district and arrest several persons.

February 16: According to South China Morning Post report Lt. Col. Yayat
Sudradjat, head of [TNI's US-trained] Kopassus Intelligence unit (SGI) convenes a meeting of militia leaders and calls for killing of pro-independence leaders and their families.

February 17: [Militia leader] Joao Tavares reportedly tells meeting of sub-district and village heads in Bobonaro [,Timor] that they will be sacked if they fail to mobilise their citizens to attend pro-[Indonesian] government rally in Balibo [,Timor].

February 19: [Militia leader] Tavares tells Balibo rally that there will be war if people reject the [TNI-backed] autonomy [modified occupation] proposal.

February 22: General Wiranto states in Jakarta that TNI will continue to
deploy the militia to help Polri [the Indonesian national police, also under
Wiranto's supervision] maintain security.

February 24: Two Timorese shot dead in Dili, apparently not by militia, but
by TNI troops in civilian clothes.

February 25: Portuguese Prime Minister [Portugal is the former colonial power
in Timor] calls for UN presence in East Timor....

[March 3: Admiral Blair, chief of US armed forces in the Pacific, tells the US Congress House Armed Services Committee that TNI, the Indonesian armed forces, are
" the main instrument for order" in Indonesia and that their leaders have
"a strong sense of commitment to the constitution." Blair is testifying
in support of new US aid to the TNI.]

March 4: A classified Australian Defence Intelligence Organisation report
concludes that TNI "are clearly protecting, and some instances operating
with, militants'. It notes that TNI 'could apprehend or easily control
pro-Indonesian militants, but has chosen not to."

March 8: More than 1,000 Timorese from Guiso village are reported to have
fled into mountains after militia attacks.

March 11: In New York it is announced that Jakarta and Lisbon have agreed to
give Timorese a vote on their future.

[Timorese leader Xanana] Gusmao and [militia leader] Tavares agree to cooperate for a cease-fire.

March 16: BMP militia surround the Carmelite convent in Maubara, accuse the
nuns of supporting independence movement, and threaten to kill them.

March 26: According to one of those present, at a meeting with militia
leaders, [Indonesian occupation] Governor Abilio Soares orders that priests and nuns
should be killed.

April 6: At Liquica as many as 50 Timorese located in the church compound are
murdered by BMP militia, with TNI involvement. Gusmao calls on Falintil [the Timorese]forces to defend themselves. General Wiranto tells media that the massacre
was the result of conflict between 'rival groups'.

[A subsequent CIA cable says of the massacre at Liquica: "“Indonesian military
had colluded with pro-Jakarta militia forces in events preceding the attack and
were present in some numbers at the time of the killings.”]

[April 8: Admiral Blair meets General Wiranto in Jakarta, offers him reassurance
and new US military aid, invites him to Hawaii as his guest, offers specific aid
for BRIMOB -- a unit that helped stage the Liquica massacre, and offers
to lobby the US Congress to restore the TNI's US IMET military
training which was cut off by Congress after a 1991 army massacre
at a Catholic cemetery in Dili. Contrary to his instructions from the White House and State Department, Blair does not tell Wiranto to shut the militias down.]

April 12: At Cailaco in Bobonaro area, six villagers are kidnapped and then
murdered by Halilintar [militia] and TNI troops in house of Manuel Soares Gama. A
Falintil [Timorese resistance] group retaliates, killing Gama and 2 TNI troops.

April 13: In revenge attack a force of TNI and militia, led by Lt Col.
Burhanuddin Siagian and Joao Tavares reportedly kidnap, torture and then kill
six Cailaco villagers.

April 16: Belarmino da Cruz, a brother of Lopez, is reportedly killed at

April 17: Massacre at home of Manuel Carrascalao [a Timorese leader].
Manuelito, Manuel's son, and at least 11 others are killed by Aitarak [militia]
and BMP [militia] members, following a militia rally, addressed by
[Indonesian army] Colonel Tono Suratman.

Team Alpha militia murder Virgilio de Sousa, an independence supporter, at
his home in Bauro, Lospalos [Timor].

[April 18: Admiral Blair calls General Wiranto and once again offers
him new US aid and assurances of support. Blair once again declines
to tell Wiranto to stop the massacres and militias, even though the
call had been arranged at State Department behest to get Blair
to correct his earlier April 8 failure to tell Wiranto to stop the killings.
Indonesian officers say Wiranto is delighted with Blair's continued
support, and takes it as a US green light to escalate the militia terror.]

April 20: [Timorese leader] Jose Ramos Horta calls for international sanctions
against Indonesia. General Wiranto visits Dili, and claims security situation is
under control.

[A Top Secret US Senior Executive Intelligence Brief states “to restore stability,
the Indonesian security forces must stop supporting the militias and adopt a
neutral posture.” But that is not what Admiral Blair tells Gen. Wiranto,
and support for the militias continues. ]

April 21: Evaristo Lopes believed dead after being arrested by Kopassus [Indonesian
Army special forces] and Team Alpha militia in Los Palos.

Falintil and militia leaders sign peace agreement at Bishop's residence in
Dili, which envisages setting up of a Joint Commission on Peace and Stability.

April 23: Catholic Church reports that between 42 and 100 persons killed by
militia units in Suai.

According to Australian Defence Intelligence Organisation report General
Wiranto had chosen to ignore the violent behaviour of TNI and militia forces
in Timor.

April 24: After two days of talks Portuguese and Indonesian officials reach
broad agreement on autonomy package and referendum [vote on independence]
, but security arrangements are yet to be resolved.

April 26: Commission on Peace and Stability for East Timor created with
representatives from pro-integration [occupation], pro-independence,
local government, military, police, Church and KOMNASHAM [Indonesian government
human rights commission]..

April 27: At meeting with Australian Prime Minister Howard, [Indonesian President]
Dr Habibie promises to hold a [Timor] self-determination ballot under UN supervision
on 8 August.

April 28: [TNI Col.] Suratman promises that pro-integration [occupation]militias
would be disarmed in coming weeks.

April 30: Report that bodies of 11 pro-integrationists found in Bauhati.

May 1: Sakunar militia, led by Simao Lopes, established in Oecussi....

May 3: [TNI] Kopassus troops and militia members reportedly kill Domingos Soares
Aparicio near Viqueque.

May 4: Mateus Soares Monis, of Sagadate, Baucau, is arrested and killed by
[TNI] Kopassus troops.

May 5: Agreement between Indonesia, Portugal, and the UN on a referendum for
East Timor is signed in New York. It provides for international experts to
help set up and supervise the ballot, and for unarmed police to observe the
process. Responsibility for security, however, rests with ABRI forces [another,
previous, name for TNI]..

May 7: The UN Security Council passes Resolution 136, in support of 5 May
Agreement, and moves quickly to commence its implementation.

May 9: [TNI] Maj. Gen. Damiri tells media that disarmament of militia and
pro-independence forces was 'proceeding smoothly' and that security situation
was now under control.

[May 10: A Top Secret CIA Intelligence Report notes that “local commanders
would have required at least tacit approval from headquarters in Jakarta to
allow the militias the blatant free hand they have enjoyed.”]

May 18: More than 30 Timorese reported killed by militia in Atara.

May 23: [Indonesian] President Habibie promises to release [Timorese leader]
Xanana [Gusmao] after ballot.

May 24: The SYSG [a UN body] urges the Security Council to send a team of
military advisers to East Timor, as Indonesian authorities was not maintaining
security there. After 3 day visit, Special Envoy Soragjee tells Habibie that
all East Timorese must be disarmed.

[Col.] Timbul Silaen, Kapolri [head of the Indonesian national police], tells
media that his police were neutral and 'had done as best as possible to
prevent violence.'

May 27: The Security Council expresses its deep concern at the continuing
violence in East Timor.

May 28: The [official government-backed] Peace and Justice Commission
reports that militia were compiling lists of pro-independence leaders, with the
assistance of intelligence agencies, so that they could be targeted if the
consultation result were to go against the autonomy [modified occupation] proposal...

June 5: Lamberto da Costa and another person reported killed after arrest by
joint TNI/BMP [militia] members. 11 others reported killed.

June 6: BMP militia force 23 women into domestic and sexual slavery in Maubara,
Liquica (KPP HAM [Indonesian human rights] Report)...

Eduardo Pereira, 50, is killed at Liquica, reportedly by 4 BMP [militia] members who
accused him of supporting Falintil.

June 11: The Security Council passes Resolution 1246, formally establishing
UNAMET [the United Nations Mission in East Timor].

The Australian Foreign Ministry announces that it has information that the
TNI [Indonesian armed forces] has actively encouraged and supported the
pro-integration [pro-occupation] militia.

June 15: UNAMET staff unexpectedly witness BMP militia destroying Leotela
village, and beating locals, with TNI watching.

June 23: The UN, citing unsatisfactory security conditions, postpones
referendum to 22 August. General Wiranto records his disagreement with the

June 26: Bishop attends peace talks in Jakarta. Jose Ramos Horta and Xanana
[Timorese leaders] allowed to attend.

June 29: Seven UN officials injured in Maliana [a Timor town] in attack by
pro-autonomy mob [pro-occupation]. The UN Security Council President
subsequently expresses his grave concern at attack. SYSG [a UN body]
report states that security situation in East Timor not yet
conducive to holding of ballot.

July 4: A UN driver is shot during militia attack on UNAMET staff and aid
workers in Liquica and Maliana.

July 7: Indonesia sends extra 1,200 police to East Timor, in response to
international concern at security problems.

July 8: UNAMET staff in Maliana witness 60-80 militia being given military
training, reportedly organised by local TNI nco [non-commissioned officer].

July 10: Falintil [the Timorese resistance] proclaims cease-fire...

[July 14: Admiral Blair's Pacific Command naval chief, Admiral Archie
Clemins, goes to Jakarta to tell Indonesian officers that the US wants
to more fully "re-engage" with the Indonesian armed forces and proposes
that a joint US-TNI military facility be established in Surabaya, Indonesia. For detail see my testimony to the US House International Operations And Human Rights Subcommittee of the House Committee on International Relations, September 30, 1999, available at ]

July 14: Wiranto declares that there was no cause to deploy UN troops in East
Timor, which would in any case violate the May 5 Agreement.

July 16: Voter registration begins, with one militiaman killed during a clash.

August 4: Voter registration ends, with 438,000 registered...

August 8: Pro-independence and pro-integration [pro-occupation] leaders
sign code of conduct agreement, as a commitment to referendum. General Wiranto declares that surrendering of weapons is prerequisite to peaceful implementation of the ballot.

August 11: Two Timorese killed in Viqueque, and two others wounded in attack
by 59/75 Junior Militia on a poll information centre. SYSG calls for more
Indonesian police to be deployed in Timor, and for more international police

August 12: Wiranto issues assurance that military will ensure security during
post-ballot period, and will accept outcome of the ballot.

August 13: [TNI] Colonel Suratnam is replaced by [TNI] Colonel Noer Muis.

August 16: Three Timorese are reportedly killed in Maliana by militia.

August 22: [TNI Col.] Noer Muis warns of bloodshed before and after
the announcement of the results of the ballot. Admitted to mounting
tensions in Suai.

August 25: [TNI Col.] Noer Muis says that security forces would face a big problem if
pro-independence won, and it would incite reaction of their opponents. But
'possibility of war and violence would be very small if pro-integration
[pro-occupation] faction won'.

August 26: [Militia leader] Eurico Guterres tells rally of 15,000 in Dili that
East Timor will become a sea of fire if independence is declared. After the rally two
Timorese are killed by Aitarak militia in a brawl, witnessed by Indonesian
police who failed to intervene....

August 28: In Los Palos village chief Verissimo Quintas is killed by militia,
who accused him of supporting CNRT [Timorese pro-independence

Militia force journalists and UN staff out of Maliana where two locals are
then killed.

Kapolri [Indonesian national police chief] Silaen declares that his forces
are adequate for security.

[Indonesian Foreign Minister] Alatas rejects need for peacekeeping force
in East Timor.

August 29: CNRT [pro-independence] offices in Dili, Ambeno and Los Palos
are destroyed by militia.

A senior UN field officer reports that TNI troops have stockpiled 400 M-16
rifles in Maliana, and that local commander (Lt Col Siagian) is planning to
carry attacks with militia on those who vote for independence.

August 30: The consultation ballot is held in East Timor, with more than 97%
of registered voters participating

Polling station at Gleno attacked by more than 50 militia.

August 31: Militia attacks in Dili, Gleno, Ermera, Aileu, Ambeno and
Maliana leave 11 killed, including 3 UN local staff.

United Front for East Timor Autonomy [militia group] accuses UNAMET of bias
and describes consultation as "garbage."

[Indonesian Foreign Minister] Alatas praises the referendum.

September 1: Thousands of Indonesians and pro-integrationist [pro-occupation]
Timorese start fleeing to West Timor.

September 2: UN Special Envoy Jamsheed Marker endorses Indonesian management
of security in East Timor. Portuguese, however, ask Security Council to
prepare contingency plans for peacekeeping force.

September 3: UNAMET staff in Maliana evacuate to Dili after militia attacks.

General Wiranto announces that in order "to face unexpected circumstances"
two battalions of troops had been dispatched to East Timor. He said that "he
had just heard that the situation in Timor had returned to normal."

September 4: The results of the plebiscite are officially announced at the
Mahkota Hotel, with 78.5% voting against autonomy option [ie. in favor
of Timor independence, an end to the 24-year occupation].

Within an hour of the announcement militia, many in TNI uniforms but with
Aitarak [militia] cloaks, pour into Dili, and destruction of the city begins. An early target is the Mahkota Hotel.

In Maliana Halilintar and Dadurus Merah Putih militias, in tandem with TNI
troops, begin a campaign of destruction, and kill several locals including
two UNAMET staff.

September 5: A violent operation is launched throughout East Timor,
apparently launched by the TNI with code-names Wiradharma and Guntur. 25
refugees in the Camara Ecclesiastica [Catholic diocesan office]killed by
Aitarak militia.

US Civpol offer wounded in militia attack near Liquica.

September 6: Killings and destruction at Bishop Belo's house. Refugees
forcibly evicted, several believed murdered.

Refugees also forcibly removed from ICR [Red Cross] compound.

Suai massacre at Ave Maria Church. More than 200 persons seeking refuge are
brutally killed by Mahidin and Laksaur militia, with TNI and BRIMOB support.
Colonel Sediono and Lieutenant Sugito played leading roles in the attack and
the disposal of bodies. Several woman who survived the attack were later
taken to local military (Kodim) headquarters and raped.

President Habibie imposes martial law in East Timor, and places Major
General. Kiki Syahnakri in charge.

September 7: Many East Timorese university students, returning to Dili from
Java, are reported to have been killed, and some of the women raped.

Bishop Belo is evacuated from Dili to Darwin [Australia]. Xanana [Gusmao] is
released from house arrest and taken to British Embassy in Jakarta.

September 8: Maliana Police Station massacre. More than 50 persons are killed
by Dadurus Merah Putih militia at Maliana Police Station, with TNI backing.

Timorese killed at Tumin and Kiobiselo in Oecussi in militia attack, with TNI

Killings reported in other parts of East Timor.

Military and militia activities in Dili reflect close cooperation, under
TNI command.

[Official] Indonesian Commission on Human Rights condemns the violence, noting
complicity of [Indonesian] security forces.

Massive operation to force East Timorese to go to West Timor on commandeered
or military vehicles gets under way, accompanied by massive systematic

September 9: As many as 14 persons killed near Batugade by militia and TNI

UN decides to evacuate all its staff to Darwin [,Australia].

US suspends military ties to Indonesia.

Indonesian MPR [legislative upper house] accepts results of [Timor] ballot.

September 10: Massacre at Passabe, Oecussi, by Sakunar militia, assisted by
troops from [TNI's] 745 Battalion.

Reverend Ximenes is killed on road from Dili to Baucau.

UN Secretary General calls on Indonesia immediately to accept peacekeeping

US President Clinton say that "it is now clear that the Indonesian military
is aiding and abetting the militia violence. This is unacceptable." [Though,
as the CIA and public reports reflected, it had been clear from the start.]

September 11: A German priest, Albert Garim, and a Timorese are killed at
Dare, allegedly by [TNI] Kopassus troops.

UN Security Council delegation, with General Wiranto, visits Dili.

September 12: Killings reported at Ainaro, Los Palos and Baucau by militia
and TNI.

Indonesian Government formally agrees to peacekeeping force intervention.

September 13: Indonesia allows international food and airdrops in East Timor.

September 14: Two Timorese killed at Raifun village.

UNAMET staff and 1,400 Timorese evacuated from Dili to Darwin.

The EU bans arms sales to Indonesia.

September 15: UN Security Council Resolution 1264 approves Interfet
[International Force for East Timor] deployment.

September 16: [TNI] Maj Gen Syahnakri denies TNI support for militias.

September 17: TNI withdraw from East Timor begins, and UN aerial food drop

September 19: Interfet commander, Maj.Gen. Peter Cosgrove, meets with Maj Gen
Syahnakri in Dili.

September 20: Seven Timorese killed by Sakunar militia in Ambeno, Oecussi.

Interfet commences deployment in Dili, without incident.

September 21: As [TNI] Battalion 745 withdraws to West Timor, its soldiers
reportedly kill Timorese and destroy houses. Financial Times journalist,
Sander Thoenes is murdered by [Batallion] 745 troops in the Becora area...

September 23: Militia groups start flooding into West Timor, and TNI troops
begin burning their barracks and other buildings.

September 24: UNHCR reaches an agreement to aid refugees in West Timor.

September 25: Massacre in Lautem area when Team Alpha militia ambush vehicle
carrying nuns, brothers and an Indonesian journalist. Nine person are killed
and their bodies mutilated.

September 27: The UN CHR calls for an international commission to investigate
violations in East Timor.

September 29: Militia reportedly kill two persons in Maliana.

October 3: Interfet troops push towards the western part of East Timor.

October 6: Bishop Belo returns to East Timor.

October 8: East Timorese refugees start returning from West Timor.

October 9: One militiaman is killed and two wounded when engaged by Interfet
troops near border.

October 13: UN officials report that about 400,000 East Timorese are missing.

October 20: Indonesia's MPR passes a decree, annulling the formal
incorporation [Indonesian military takeover] of East Timor, which took
place in July 1976.

October 25: The UN Security Council, in Resolution 1272, creates UNTAET.

October 26: East Timor is taken over by the UN and Sergio Vieira de Mello is
appointed as transitional administrator.

[End of chronology based on the UN Dunn report.]

The think tank of Obama's transition chief, John Podesta, writes that the choice of Admiral Blair, among others, is "indicative of Obama's intent to work within the rule of law in fighting terrorism" ("Putting the Law Back Into Intelligence," The Progress Report, Center for American Progress, January 6, 2009).

Did Blair "work within the rule of law" in 1999 Indonesia/Timor?

If Obama thinks he didn't, Blair should be prosecuted, not appointed. And if Obama thinks he did, then sponsoring mass killing of civilians is legal, and is indeed the kind of conduct to be rewarded in Obama's Washington.

NOTE TO READERS: News and Comment is looking for assistance with translating blog postings into other languages, and also with fund raising and distributing the blog content more widely. Those interested please get in touch via the e-mail link below.

NOTE TO READERS RE. TRANSLATION: Portions of News and Comment are now available in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, French, German and Spanish translation (click preceding links or Profile link above) but translation help is still needed -- particularly with older postings, in these and all other languages.

NOTE TO READERS RE. POTENTIAL EVIDENCE: News and Comment is looking for public and private documents and first-hand information that could develop into evidence regarding war crimes or crimes against humanity by officials. Please forward material via the email link below.

Email Me