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
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 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
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,
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.
Senior Foreign Service Officer (Retired)
P.S. You can
contribute safely through ETAN's website below.
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.
Donations of any size for ETAN's political and advocacy work should
be made out to ETAN and are not tax-deductible.
for more than $50 can also be made out to "AJ Muste Memorial Institute/ETAN"
only be used to support our educational work.