etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer

Background on Paul Wolfowitz, Indonesia and East Timor

Wolfowitz's Indonesia Record Eyed (May 4), 2007

Jubilee USA and ETAN Challenge Wolfowitz to Address Roots of Corruption by Canceling Indonesia's (April 11, 2007)
Wolfowitz visits Timor (April 8, 2006)

Sample Letters to the Editor (2005)

Sample letters on Paul Wolfowitz's nomination to head World Bank. Adapt to your own words. Mix and match and share your letters.

Published letters

Additional background can be found at the links below.

Published letters:

New York Times
March 29, 2005

Wolfowitz and Indonesia: What the Record Shows


To the Editor:

Re "Similar Résumé, Different Decade" (Business Day, March 22):

I disagree with the suggestion that Paul D. Wolfowitz championed human rights in illegally occupied East Timor as the Reagan administration's ambassador to Indonesia.

He consistently argued against East Timorese self-determination, a position he maintained through 1999. While he sometimes criticized the Indonesian military's more high-profile atrocities, his opposition to any talk favoring an Indonesian withdrawal - as demanded by the United Nations - lent credibility to Indonesia's presence in East Timor, facilitating the very atrocities he occasionally decried.

During Mr. Wolfowitz's stint as Ronald Reagan's assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs and as ambassador, hundreds of millions of dollars of American weaponry flowed to the Indonesian military, the very force responsible for the crimes against humanity.

Mr. Wolfowitz was and continues to be a strong champion of strong ties with Indonesia's military establishment - despite its very deadly results in East Timor and within Indonesia proper.

Joseph Nevins
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

March 23, 2005

The writer, an assistant professor of geography at Vassar College, is the author of a book about East Timor.

The Independent (UK)
1 March 2005

Wolfowitz's dubious record in Indonesia

Sir: As ambassador to Indonesia during the Reagan years, Paul Wolfowitz may have paid lip service to democratic reform (profile, 19 March), but on the whole he defended the Suharto dictatorship. That regime was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and extensive human rights violations in East Timor and elsewhere. The Suharto family and his cronies became extremely wealthy siphoning funds from the development projects and business deals that Wolfowitz promoted.

In May 1997, Wolfowitz told the US Congress that Suharto provided "strong and remarkable leadership" and dismissed illegally-occupied East Timor's aspirations for independence. A year later, a popular revolt against Suharto's failed economic policies and the brutal killing of student protesters forced the dictator from office. Five years later, East Timor gained independence. Wolfowitz's policy prescriptions on Indonesia, look no better than his later ones on Iraq.

More recently, as number two at the Pentagon, Wolfowitz advocated stepping up military engagement with Indonesia, despite that fact that the main reasons for limiting that US engagement remain largely unresolved. No Indonesian officials have been held accountable for crimes against humanity in East Timor; security forces continue to systematically violate rights in tsunami-stricken Aceh and elsewhere; and the killings of two Americans in West Papua in 2002 remains unresolved, despite evidence of military involvement. The military, whose "reform" Wolfowitz champions, remains the greatest roadblock to democracy in Indonesia. He must not bring similar attitudes and policies to the World Bank.

Outreach Coordinator, East Timor Action Network
Brooklyn, NY, USA



ETAN: Remembering A Shared History: Suharto and the United States (March 7)


Joyo Exclusive: Wolfowitz's Track Record on Economic Policy and Human Rights Is Poor by Jeffrey A. Winters (March 29)
Groups Ask Bush to Withdraw Wolfowitz Nomination (March 30)

Village Voice: Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolfowitz: He Bungled Iraq, the Pentagon, and East Timor. Look Out, World Bank—Here He Comes (March 18)

Statement by Neil Watkins, National Coordinator of Jubilee USA Network, on the Nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to be President of the World Bank (March 16)

Indonesia Alert!: Beware a Wolfowitz in Sheep's Clothing: Washington Backs Indonesian Military Again

East Timor Action Network Condemns Restoration of IMET for Indonesia (February 27)

Wolfowitz Visited Indonesia For Closer Military Ties, Not Tsunami Relief (January 19)
IPS: Bush Uses Tsunami Aid to Regain Foothold in Indonesia (January 18)
Democracy Now!: Allan Nairn on Wolfowitz post-Tsunami visit to Jakarta and Aceh (January 2005)


NYT letters - ETAN & others on Wolfowitz (Sept. 2004)
AP: East Timorese say Reagan responsible for Indonesian massacres (June 6)

Prior to 2004

AFR: US cuts off funds to train Indonesia armed forces (August 7, 2003)
Wolfowitz Defends Indonesian Military (September 6, 2002)
Indonesia Alert!:
Paul “Velociraptor” Wolfowitz
Paul Wolfowitz, Reagan’s Man in Indonesia, Is Back at the Pentagon (Feb. 2001)

Progressive: Suharto Lobby (May 1997)
Wolfowitz's prepared testimony before House International Relations Committee, (May 7, 1997)

See also

[*UPDATE 2010: 50 Years is Enough Network is defunct. Groups doing similar work are Debt Relief Now which organizes a week of global action against global debt and Jubilee USA Network.]

**Letter #1**

To the Editor:

Paul Wolfowitz is especially unqualified to head the World Bank [ARTICLE NAME AND PUB DATE]. While the Bank is supposed to support the downtrodden, Wolfowitz has valued ties to oppressive governments over the aspirations of ordinary people for democracy and freedom.

Nowhere has this been truer than in East Timor and Indonesia, where he served as U.S. ambassador in the 1980s. Rather than denounce the military regime’s horrific human rights record, Wolfowitz preferred to cozy up to the dictator General Suharto, who lead a brutal regime which plundered billions. Wolfowitz was dismissive of East Timor's aspirations for independence, which was then illegally occupied by Indonesia at the cost of 200,000 East Timorese lives.

As the number two man at the Pentagon, Wolfowitz has been the main architect of the Bush administration’s push to step up military engagement with Indonesia, largely cut off because of its crimes against humanity in East Timor, ongoing rights abuses, and, most  recently, the failure to bring to justice the killers of two Americans in West Papua in 2002. The Indonesian military’s worst violations took place when the U.S. was most engaged, and it remains its country’s greatest roadblock to democracy. If Wolfowitz brings similar policies to the World Bank, the world's impoverished have much to fear.


**Letter #2**

"Actions speak louder than words" is a good rule of thumb, especially when it comes to public officials. While President Bush's nominee for World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz has sometimes spoken eloquently about promoting democracy around the world, his actions have done the opposite [ARTICLE NAME AND PUB DATE].

In and out of government, Wolfowitz has been especially influential on U.S. policy toward Indonesia, where he once served as ambassador.

For many years, he backed Indonesia's corrupt and brutal dictator Suharto and urged illegally-occupied East Timor to give up its dream of independence. After popular pressure forced Suharto out and East Timor's dream became reality, Wolfowitz continued to advocate arming and training Indonesia's abusive military: an institution which continues to violate human rights and threaten Indonesia’s fledgling democracy.






Building a New East Timor