Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blair story among 'most censored'

Dennis Blair nomination is among "most censored" stories of 2010. Project Censored which issues an annual list of Top 25 Most Censored Stories. The group cites Allan Nairn's Democracy Now! appearance of January 7, 2009 where he discussed Blair's record as U.S. Pacific Commander in Chief in 1999. ETAN opposes the nomination to be National Director of Intelligence. ETAN began highlighting Blair's record on East Timor in early December 2008. In the end, Blair was confirmed.

Project Censored citation (under the heading "Obama’s Military Appointments Have Corrupt Past") states:
Admiral Dennis Blair, Obama’s pick to head National Intelligence, which oversees all sixteen intelligence agencies, was the Commander of Military Forces in the Pacific under Clinton. As such he played a critical role in the backing of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor after the US-backed dictator Suharto fell in 1998. In 1999, when the Indonesian military terrorized the population to thwart democratic reform, Blair was sent by Clinton and the US State Department to demand that Indonesian General Wiranto stop the massacres. Instead, Admiral Blair falsely informed the general of unwavering US support. Government-sponsored atrocities escalated. Blair then lied to Congress, claiming that only small unit violence was involved, when in fact the top echelons of the Indonesian military were carrying out kidnapping, massacres and torture. Blair essentially sided with General Wiranto in the mass killing of Indonesian [sic] civilians, against US Congress’s orders and knowledge.

ETAN wrote in December 2008:
"President-elect Barack Obama's rumored selection of Admiral Dennis C. Blair for Director of National Intelligence is unacceptable...

"During his years as Pacific Commander, Blair actively worked to reinstate military assistance and deepen ties to Indonesia's military despite its ongoing human rights violations in East Timor and consistent record of impunity...

"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...

"He undermined the Clinton administration's belated efforts to support human rights and self-determination in the Indonesian-occupied territory and opposed congressional efforts to limit assistance.”
In early January, we reiterated our concerns - calling Blair a "poor choice."
In April 1999, just days after Indonesian security forces and their militia proxies 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 Indonesia's highly destructive exit from the territory.

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