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1995 Annual Report 

December 1995

The East Timor Action Network/United States supports genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of East Timor in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1960 United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Decolonization, and Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on East Timor. Our primary focus is to change US foreign policy and raise public awareness to support self-determination for East Timor.

1995 marks two decades of Indonesian occupation of East Timor, three decades of the rule of Suharto's military regime, and five decades of Indonesian independence. In this anniversary year, the East Timor Action Network/United States continued and expanded our efforts to change US and Indonesian policy toward supporting the human and political rights of the people of East Timor. 

1996 will be the fifth year of the East Timor Action Network, which was formed after the November 1991 massacre at Santa Cruz cemetery, when Indonesian soldiers killed over 250 unarmed people in Dili, East Timor. We believe that if US and Indonesian policies on East Timor are ever going to change - even after 20 years of Indonesian occupation and genocide - international awareness of the tragedy must be converted into action. We agree with political observers and the East Timorese resistance that changing US government policy is key to Indonesia's withdrawal from East Timor. 

During 1995, ETAN expanded our mailing list to more than 3000, with thousands more in ETAN local groups. We have a new chapter in Chicago, and increasing activity in Boston, Colorado, Los Angeles, Madison, New Jersey, New York, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, Texas, Washington DC and elsewhere. ETAN also has chapters at colleges across the United States. 

During 1995, ETAN/US worked on many fronts, including those below. In 1996, we will expand these directions and explore new ones, including an increased presence in Washington and several national speaking tours.

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Keeping the pressure on 

  • Organized numerous vigils at Indonesian and US government offices. On December 7, the 20th anniversary of the invasion, we picketed the Indonesian Embassy, UN Mission, and consulates across this country. 

  • Intensified our "corporate campaign" to bring consumer and shareholder pressure on US companies that support the occupation of East Timor. Raised questions inside Texaco's annual shareholder meeting and demonstrated outside that meeting. We are working to raise awareness about the Indonesian activities of other oil (Chevron, USX Marathon, Phillips Petroleum) and shoe (Nike, Reebok) companies which support Indonesia's regime, often in coalition with people concerned about Burma, Ecuador, and labor rights. 

  • Worked with journalists, environmentalists and others to build knowledge and public concern about environmental and human rights violations committed in West Papua (Irian Jaya) by Freeport McMoRan, the largest US corporate investor in Indonesia and a strong supporter of the Suharto regime. 

  • Publicly questioned Henry Kissinger (Secretary of State when Indonesia invaded East Timor) about his and President Ford's approval of the invasion. Kissinger's defensiveness and ETAN's rebuttals generated radio and magazine stories. 

  • Demonstrated against Indonesian military dictator Suharto when he visited New York and Washington in October. 

  • Leafleted celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of Indonesian independence in New York and San Francisco, and other events, complementing the growing awareness of East Timor among Indonesians. 

  • Demonstrated outside and raised questions inside trade conferences organized by the Indonesian government and US corporations in New York, San Francisco, and elsewhere. 

  • Supported human rights attorney Reed Brody, who went to East Timor to participate in a religious memorial ceremony in November. Brody and other international VIP's were expelled from East Timor after 24 hours.

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Changing U.S. government policy

  • Made numerous trips to Washington to meet with Congresspeople and their staffs, including more than 400 of the 435 Representatives' offices. In May, we brought two dozen activists from around the country to Washington for a week of lobbying. 
  • Worked to maintain the ban on US military aid to Indonesia in effect since 1992. With the new Republican-controlled Congress, we were only able to keep a partial ban. Although US military training aid for Indonesian soldiers is still barred, non-military training aid has resumed. 
  • Continued to oppose all arms sales to Indonesia. We persuaded Congress, the White House and the State Department to keep the prohibition on sale of small arms and riot control equipment to Indonesia. We also work against the pending sale of F-16 fighter jets, which remains unresolved. 4Expanded and strengthened our relationships with Washington-based arms control, religious and human rights groups. 
  • Stimulated hundreds of calls, faxes, and e-mails to the White House on December 7, the 20th anniversary of Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. Callers asked President Clinton to cut off all US arms sales, pressure Indonesia to comply with UN resolutions for East Timorese self-determination, and free all political prisoners. 

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Providing resources and information

  • Published Network News. The latest issue of our newsletter went to more than 4,000 East Timor supporters worldwide. 
  • Issued Action Alerts by fax, e-mail, and postal mail to encourage people to respond quickly to emergencies and opportunities, and to prepare for major events. 
  • Distributed press releases and other information to our growing list of media contacts. ETAN activists, including chapter coordinators Mariza Cabral, Matthew Jardine, Greg Knehans, Sally Levison, John M. Miller and Will Seaman, have been interviewed by the media. 
  • Supplied background information for Congressional staff, journalists, academics and others who visited East Timor or Indonesia. ETAN put them in contact with semi-underground democratic movements. We also provide information to people inside Indonesia and East Timor who have little access to uncensored media. 
  • Persuaded many PBS stations to broadcast Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media. This film, which includes a 20-minute segment on East Timor, is available in video, book, or audiotape form from ETAN. 
  • Initiated and distribute ETAN/LA coordinator Matthew Jardine's Genocide in Paradise (Odonian Press, 1995), the only inexpensive US-published book on East Timor. 
  • Distribute other books, CDs, audio and video tapes, pamphlets, etc., many of which are published outside the US and hard to obtain here. We continue to work with video producers and distributors, and to hand out material at public film showings. 
  • Facilitated Internet distribution of fast-breaking news reports, background information and action alerts, reaching many thousands of key people worldwide. We increasingly use the World Wide Web, and have private e-mail lists for internal and international communications. Our Internet services are featured, among other places, in the January 1996 issue of Wired magazine. 
  • Published Documents on East Timor, a comprehensive bi-monthly compilation of reports and analyses. Subscribers include activist groups, journalists, governments and libraries around the world. 
  • Wrote articles on East Timor for a wide range of publications. Op-ed pieces by ETAN activists have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Journal of Commerce, and other major newspapers. Letters to the Editor are ubiquitous. We provide programs on East Timor for many broadcast media. 
  • Responded to requests from people discovering East Timor and eager to learn more. By listing ETAN's contact information in various places, we receive "what can I do?" inquiries from all over the world. 

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Building awareness and effectiveness

  • Provided videos, poster exhibits and other resources to colleges and communities across the United States. 
  • Arranged theatrical showings of John Pilger's powerful film Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Washington DC, Providence, Long Island, Princeton, Madison, Boston and elsewhere We are now distributing this documentary on video and will promote its upcoming television broadcasts. 
  • Arranged numerous speaking dates for East Timorese representative Constâncio Pinto, journalists Amy Goodman and Allan Nairn, ETAN National Coordinator Charles Scheiner, writer Matthew Jardine, Law Professor Roger S. Clark and others. 
  • Arranged press interviews, private meetings and programs for visiting East Timor experts, including Australian nurse Simon de Faux, East Timorese Resistance Special Representative José Ramos Horta, and East Timorese Protestant Church leader Arlindo Marçal. 
  • Held a regional conference in San Francisco, where key ETAN activists from the West Coast and across the US shared experiences and developed strategies. 
  • Organized public meetings featuring Noam Chomsky in Boston and New York (which attracted more than the auditorium's capacity of 700). 
  • Helped create the Asia-Pacific Center for Justice and Peace, a Washington-based organization which brings together church-based advocacy groups (all major Christian denominations are included) and others. ETAN's National Coordinator serves on APC's Board of Directors. 
  • Worked with East Timor Religious Outreach (ETRO) to persuade the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA and other religious bodies (including Methodists, the United Church of Christ, and the National Council of Churches) to pass strong resolutions on East Timor, and to organize memorial services, actions and other events. ETRO and ETAN organized a civil disobedience action at the Indonesian Consulate in San Francisco on the November 13 anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre.

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Thinking and acting globally

  • Represented the International Federation for East Timor (IFET) at the United Nations, including arranging meetings between Timorese and U.N. representatives. We also work closely with Parliamentarians for East Timor. 
  • Participated in international conferences in Portugal and elsewhere with academics and East Timor support groups. 4Coordinated a secure worldwide Internet discussion group for strategizing and sharing confidential information. 
  • Testified at the United Nations Committee on Decolonization. ETAN arranged housing, clerical support and presenters for more than twenty petitioning organizations from around the world. 
  • Helped with logistical support and contacts for East Timorese leaders when they visited the United States.

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"ETAN has been doing wonderful work, which I really appreciate very much, having been deeply involved in this issue since almost the beginning. Seemed pretty hopeless for a long time, but ETAN has made a tremendous difference, maybe even a decisive one." 
- Professor Noam Chomsky , M.I.T.

East Timor Action Network/U.S. 

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