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Health conditions are abysmal. One of the few doctors in the territory, American volunteer Dan Murphy, reported that fifty to one hundred Timorese are dying daily from curable diseases, while Indonesia “has a deliberate policy not to allow medical supplies into East Timor.” In the Australian media, he has detailed atrocious crimes from his personal experience, and Australian journalists and aid workers have compiled a shocking record. The referendum has been delayed twice by the U.N. because of the tenor, which has even targeted U.N. offices and U.N. convoys carrying sick people for treatment. Citing diplomatic, church, and militia sources, the Australian press reports “that hundreds of modern assault rifles, grenades, and mortars are being stockpiled, ready for use if the autonomy option is rejected at the ballot box,” and warns that the T.N.I.-run militias may be planning a violent takeover of much of the territory if, despite the tenor, the popular will is expressed. Murphy and others report that T.N.I. has been emboldened by the lack of interest in the West. “A senior U.S. diplomat summarized the issue neatly: ‘East Timor is Australia’s Haiti’ in other words, it’s not a problem for the United States, which helped create and sustain the humanitarian disaster in East Timor and could readily end it. \(Those who know the truth about the United States Reporting on the tenor from the scene, Nobel Laureate Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo called for “an international military force” to protect the population from Indonesian terror and permit the referendum to proceed. Nothing doing. The “international community” meaning Western powers prefers that the Indonesian army provide “security.” A small number of unarmed U.N. monitors have been authorized but subsequently delayed by the Clinton administration. The picture in the past few months is particularly ugly against the background of the self-righteous posturing in the “enlightened states.” But it simply illustrates, once again, what should be obvious: Nothing substantial has changed, either in the actions of the powerful or the performance of their flatterers. The Timorese are “unworthy victims.” No power interest is served by attending to their suffering or taking even simple steps to end it. Without a significant popular reaction, the long-familiar story will continue, in East Timor and throughout the world. Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at M.I.T. He has written many articles on the history and politics of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. This commentary originally appeared on the MoJo Wire, Mother Jones magazine’s Web site \(www.motherU.S. Complicity BY ALLAN NAIRN Dili, East Timor 1 t is by now clear to most East Timorese and a few Westerners still left here that the militias are a wing of the T.N.I./ABRI, the Indonesian armed forces. Recently, for example, I was picked up by militiamen who turned out to be working for a uniformed colonel of the National Police. [Editors’ note: The Indonesian government has denied any connection between the militias and either the police or the military.] But there is another important political fact that is not known here or in the in ternational community. Although the U.S. government has publicly reprimanded the Indonesian Army for the militias, the U.S. military has, behind the scenes and contrary to Congressional intent, been backing the T.N.I. U.S. officials say that this past April, as militia tenor escalated, a top U.S. officer was dispatched to give a message to Jakarta. Admiral Dennis Blair, the U.S. Commander in Chief of the Pacific, leader of all U.S. military forces in the Pacific region, was sent to meet with General Wiranto, the Indonesian armed forces commander, on April 8. Blair’s mission, as one senior U.S. official told me, was to tell Wiranto that the time had come to shut the militia operation down. The gravity of the meeting was heightened by the fact that two days before, the militias had committed a horrific machete massacre at the Catholic church in Liquita, Timor. YAYASAN HAK, a Timorese human rights group, estimated that many dozens of civilians were murdered. Some of the victims’ flesh was reportedly stuck to the walls of the church and a pastor’s house. But Admiral Blair, fully briefed on Liquita, quickly made clear at the meeting with Wiranto that he was there to reassure the T.N.I. chief. According to a classified cable on the meeting, circulating at Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, Blair, rather than telling Wiranto to shut the militias down, instead offered him a series of promises of new U.S. assistance. According to the cable, which was drafted by Col. Joseph Daves, U.S. military attach in Jakarta, Admiral Blair “told the armed forces chief that he looks forward to the time when [the army will] resume its proper role as a leader in the region. He invited General Wiranto to come to Hawaii as his guest in conjunction with the next round of bilateral defense discussions in the See “East Timor,” page 18 OCTOBER 1, 1999 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11