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Allan Nairn's Statement
to his Arresting Officers and the Public

ZNet Introductory Comment:

You may have heard, already, that U.S. journalist Allan Nairn, arrested a few days ago seemingly solely for deportation, is now facing prosecution in Indonesia. Benny Mateus, the chief justice of Nusa Tenggara Province intends to prosecute Nairn for two violations of Indonesian immigration law, a local immigration official in Kupang, West Timor has informed Nairn. Nairn is to be charged with engaging in unauthorized activities and overstaying his two-month visa. Both acts are considered illegal under sections 50 and 52 of the Indonesian immigration laws. If convicted, Nairn could face 10 years in prison. Nairn, who was arrested in Dili on September 14, was one of the last journalists reporting from East Timor. Indonesian forces transferred him to Kupang in West Timor, a part of Indonesia. A local immigration official, Mr. Zurya, has been interrogating Nairn at the immigration facility in downtown Kupang for several days. According to Indonesian officials in Kupang, while Mateus is seeking to charge Nairn, the Minister of Justice, Dr. Muladi, and the Minister of Information, Yunus Yosfiah, are inclined to deport Nairn.

The detainment and possible prosecution of a U.S. journalist, the only one on the scene, is of course generating tremendous concern in the United States. The key point about Nairn's arrest, however, and our efforts to free him, for those who are informed and have broad and consistent moral values is that we need to work to free Nairn while at the same time continuing to address the plight of the Timorese, and, for that matter, while we work to convince those aroused only by Nairn's situation that they need to broaden their focus.

For example, approximately 100,000 East Timorese have been driven from their country into West Timor, which is a part of Indonesia. These folks are under the auspices of the Militia and Indonesian Army and there are no observers. Their plight is unknown, but there is every reason to fear for their lives. All efforts of virtually any sort to publicize and arouse concern for Allan Nairn and outrage at his incarceration will help him and also all East Timorese. But, such efforts will be that much more effective, on both counts, if they occur in context of continuing attention the lot of the worst off and most defenseless...and if they emphasize not solely a violation of a Western Journalist by the Indonesians, but their quarter century-long willful violation, abetted by their U.S. sponsors, of the rights and lives of the Timorese. Nairn himself has no confusion on these matters. He is not only courageous, but consistent, not only a fine reporter, but also a moral, socially concerned and consistent person. In fighting for Nairn's freedom we should learn from his focus and courage and keep the broader context and issues always forefront.

Here then is Nairn's Own Statement to his captors (point l8 of the interrogation report on Allan Nairn, the part where the Immigration chief asks him to handwrite his position).


Allan Nairn's Statement 
to His Indonesian Captors

I know that the army has put me on the black list. They did this because I watched their soldiers murder more than 271 people at the Santa Cruz cemetery. This crime was the responsibility of the Indonesian army commander, General Try Sutrisno and the Minister of Defense, General Benny Murdani.

The murders were committed with American M-16 rifles. The American government also bears some of the responsibility because they have armed, trained, and given money to the TNI/ABRI, even though they knew the TNI/ABRI is led by murderers and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Timorese, Acehnese, West Papuan and Indonesian civilians.

Because I survived the massacre and denounced the crime to the outside world, the TNI/ABRI and the Suharto government banned me as a "threat to national security." That ban has been reaffirmed by each subsequent TNI/ABRI commander, including General Tanjung and General Wiranto.

I do not think that I am a threat to the Indonesian or Timorese people, but I hope that I am a threat to General Wiranto and General Tanjung, and the other present and former leaders of the TNI/ABRI. I believe that they feel threatened by anyone who would expose their crimes. General Wiranto and Generals Bambang, Zacky, Syafei, Kiki, and many others, for example, are responsible for the current militia terror in occupied East Timor and for the increase in repression against the people of Aceh. This is no secret to the people of Timor or to the people of Indonesia or Aceh. They have suffered for decades under the repression and corruption of TNI/ABRI.vMany brave Indonesians, Timorese, Acehnese, and West Papuans have been killed, arrested, tortured or raped because they dared to criticize the army and demand their right to freedom.

As a foreigner and a journalist, particularly an American journalist, I know that I enjoy a certain de facto political leeway that enables me to say things that local people would be killed for saying. I have tried to use that privilege to tell the truth about TNI/ABRI. If, because of this, the army feels they must arrest or jail me, then I know that there is nothing I can do to stop them. But they know that they cannot arrest or kill all the people of Indonesia. That is why they are now so fearful, and that is why I believe they will lose their desperate struggle to retain their hold on power and their police state.

During my most recent detention, I have been interrogated by officials from army Intel, police Intel, Kopassus Group 5, and many other units. They have asked me many questions about my political motives and opinions. I would summarize my opinions this way:

I am pro human rights, pro democracy, and anti TNI/ABRI. I am a supporter of the people of East Timor, Aceh, West Papua, and Indonesia, and an opponent of the officials who have repressed and exploited them.

As an American citizen who is visiting Indonesia and occupied East Timor, I also want to be clear that I believe in even-handedness. The same political, moral and legal standards that are applied to TNI/ABRI officers should also be applied to the officers and political leaders of the United States. So while I support the UN Secretary-General's call for war crimes and crimes against humanity prosecution on East Timor, I think that the prosecution should not be limited to Indonesian officials. Foreign officials who were accomplices to atrocities in East Timor, and provided both murder weapons and the logistics of repression should also be charged, prosecuted and if convicted, jailed.

Pragmatically, it is hard to imagine General Wiranto sitting in jail. It is even harder to imagine President Clinton as his cellmate. But justice should be impartial.

It is time for the genocide to end. Untold thousands of Timorese lie slaughtered. Their families are bereft. The victims of Santa Cruz, Liquica, and Suai can no longer speak. Those of us who can should insist that the killing stop right now. And we should also insist that the killers face justice, regardless of who they are.

These same principles apply of course to atrocities everywhere. I think that this is a simple idea and that most people would agree.

If General Wiranto or any other officials have further questions about my views, I would be glad to answer them personally at a time and place of their choosing. I would also be glad to give details on the crimes referred to above, and on the complicity in them of General Wiranto and other officials.


John M. Miller Internet:
Media & Outreach Coordinator,
East Timor Action Network
PO Box 150753,
Brooklyn, NY 11215-0753
USA Phone: (718)596-7668
Fax: (718)222-4097
Web site: