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Ed McWilliams

December 2010

Dear friend,


I first became aware of the outstanding work performed by the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) when I served as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta in the late 1990s. As a frequent critic of U.S. policy, ETAN was viewed by some in the U.S. government as an adversary. They were particularly irked by ETAN's highly effective advocacy in the U.S. Congress where it has long had broad respect.

Then and now, even ETAN's critics acknowledged (sometimes grudgingly) that its carefully researched analysis and advocacy could not be factually faulted. My contacts in government indicate that the current administration retains that same level of respect for the credibility and effectiveness of ETAN's articulate advocacy.  A recent nominee for a senior State Department position with responsibility for Indonesia was cautioned by colleagues, "You don't want to get on the wrong side of these guys."

My own conversion to in-house critic of the policy of cooperation with the Indonesian military at the Embassy was heavily influenced by my contacts with ETAN and conversations with members I met as I travelled through Indonesia and East Timor.

I found it remarkable that the organization -- then and now -- has managed to accomplish so much on what amounts to a shoestring budget. I can think of no other human rights advocacy organization more deserving of public support. I know ETAN could do so much more with even greater support.

Congressional hearing on Papua. Photo by John M. Miller/ETAN

Since I retired from the senior Foreign Service in 2001, I have worked closely with ETAN. Together we have focused on the continuing human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security forces in West Papua. The struggle for human rights and self-determination in West Papua has gained growing resonance in Washington: This past September, Congress held its first-ever Congressional hearing on the situation in that troubled region. This progress is in no small way a consequence of ETAN's work.

ETAN has been consistently helpful to the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT), which works to inform the U.S. Congress, international media, and others about the broad failure of the Indonesian government to address fundamental needs in West Papua, the growing unrest there, and the popular protest that is often brutally suppressed. With WPAT, ETAN co-produces the online monthly "West Papua Report," which I edit and which recently published its 80th issue.

ETAN depends on the financial support of people like you to get the job done. Your generous contribution is crucial to the continuation of its important work, now made all the more difficult by the recent loss of some key congressional allies and an administration that argues it can ensure justice and build democracy in Indonesia by arming its military and cooperating with its notorious special forces unit, Kopassus.


The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) is a clear, effective,and very much needed voice in support of justice, human rights, and accountability. - Noam Chomsky

ETAN strongly opposed the administration's decision last July to resume cooperation with Kopassus, as well as U.S. assistance to the police’s equally notorious "Detachment 88," despite both forces’ well-documented use of torture. Perhaps you heard ETAN National Coordinator John M. Miller’s recent appearance with journalist Allan Nairn on Democracy Now!, discussing some of the latest revelations of Kopassus abuses.

With ETAN's encouragement, I recently returned to Jakarta to work with Indonesian activists during President Obama's November visit to Indonesia. I saw first-hand the human rights violations proliferating in today's Indonesia. These include intimidation of local human rights activists and journalists, corporate destruction of the environment with security force backing, violations of fundamental worker rights, and government-encouraged attacks on religious and other minorities.

My trip reinforced my view that strong, non-partisan pressure is needed for the sake of justice and to counter U.S. policies that undermine human rights. ETAN is the only U.S.-based human rights organization that exclusively monitors and advocates on behalf of human rights in East Timor and Indonesia. Its online and other activities keep journalists, officials, and others --including you -- informed about news and analysis of the region. ETAN's work is  vital to the cause of justice and accountability in now-independent East Timor. And its work on Indonesia is also of crucial importance.

ETAN's work is unique and essential at this critical time. It needs and deserves your support.  It continues to deliver more bang for the buck when it comes to informed advocacy than many other human rights organizations. I strongly urge you to join me in donating generously to ETAN.



Ed McWilliams
Senior Foreign Service Officer (Retired)

P.S. You can contribute safely through ETAN's website below. You can also mail your donation. To support ETAN’s advocacy work, write a check made out to “East Timor Action Network”. Tax-deductible donations of over $50, to support ETAN’s educational efforts only, can be made out to “A.J. Muste Memorial Institute/ETAN.” Please mail your donations to: ETAN, PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873. Thank you.


How to Donate to ETAN 

To support ETAN’s advocacy work, please make your check out to “East Timor Action Network” and send it to
ETAN, PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873

To donate by credit card (not tax-deductible) via PayPal - click here:

Make a one-time U.S. tax-deductible donation by credit card to support ETAN's educational work: 

Make a U.S. tax-deductible donation to ETAN

Questions? Comments Email or call 718-596-7668

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Donations of any size for ETAN's political and advocacy work should be made out to ETAN and are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible checks for more than $50 can also be made out to "AJ Muste Memorial Institute/ETAN" and  will only be used to support our educational work.

Please mail your donation to:

PO Box 21873
Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA

Thank you for your support.