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Eyewitness Diary From East Timor II: "They Thought Help Was Coming"

Vignettes culled from about dozens of non-U.S. news sources that appeared between August 8 to 14. Wielding the machine gun, machete, and club were the militias who opposed East Timor's independence from Indonesia in last month's election. As the madness heightened every day, the Indonesian army troops joined the slaughter of the East Timorese

East Timor Leaders Warn UN: Don't Trust Indonesia

Allowing Indonesian troops to remain in East Timor is like "entrusting the gold to the care of thieves," said Reino, a veteran negotiator on East Timor. "I do not believe in the good faith of the Indonesians, and I concur with Xanana Gusmao when he said that he only believes them when they lie"

Angry World Asks: What Happened to "Clinton Doctrine?"

by Jim Lobe Coming in the wake of Clinton's apology to Rwanda for failing to act to prevent the 1994 genocide there, the Kosovo precedent was hailed by many as a major advance in the quest to universalize human rights and make their protection enforceable by all states. So it was only natural that, among the most-asked questions around the world during the mayhem sparked by Indonesian army-backed militias in East Timor after the Aug 30 independence referendum, was: What about the Clinton Doctrine?

U.S. Shares Blame For East Timor Genocide

by Mark Weisbrot During the past twenty-four years of occupation, the United States has armed, trained, and supplied the Indonesian military. And therein lies the real explanation for the difference between East Timor and Kosovo. The ethnic cleansers in the Indonesian military and government are Washington's friends. Very close friends

Over 200,000 East Timor Face Starvation

by Jorge Pina A quarter of East Timor's 900,000 residents risk starving to death as a result of the chaos unleashed by Indonesian militias, which have already killed 7,000 people, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned

East Timor Was Strike Three For UN

Analysis By Farhan Haq The mood has been bleak at the United Nations with many diplomats openly discussing whether the crisis in East Timor was just the latest in a series of UN failures

E Timor Genocide Shows Suharto Forces Still in Control

analysis by Peter Dale Scott When Habibie announced that he would allow the East Timorese to determine their future relationship to Indonesia in a plebiscite, he angered elements in the Army, particularly Kopassus, which had played a prominent role in the 1975 invasion of East Timor and also subsequent atrocities. It must surely have angered the Suharto family as well -- they are said to control 40 percent of East Timor's natural resources (including much of its land)

Timor Slaughter May Signal Indonesian Army Coup

by Kafil Yamin For days now, the capital has been abuzz with talk that President B.J. Habibie was little more than a mere figurehead and would be unseated in a military coup, unable to assert his authority over the armed forces as violence wracked East Timor after its independence vote

East Timor Militia Members Say Peace Impossible

by Caty Greene No one listened. Instead, the United Nations decided to trust the Indonesian Government, for reasons beyond any discernible logic, and now we have chaos on our hands and a peaceful solution is apparently no longer possible

Eyewitness Diary From East Timor: "We Die"

Vignettes culled from about dozens of non-U.S. news sources that appeared between August 31 to September 8. In these fragments can be found the heart of the Timorese people -- as well as remarkable courage by a few journalists. Surely John Aglionby and Lindsay Murdoch will be nominated for Pulitzer's next year; they clearly have the lock on the year's most important story to date, even though it's been shamefully ignored by the U.S.

Indonesia Planned Deportation of 300,000 East Timorese

A UN official in East Timor states that Indonesian officials had pre-election plans for an apparent Kosovo-style forced "evacuation" of some 200,000 to 300,000 East Timorese -- up to one-third of the population -- to change the balance of power in the nation, where citizens voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia

UN, U.S. Blasted for Hypocrisy Over E Timor

by Alejandro Kirk While the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting Wednesday, Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi urged UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to set an example himself. "Take a UN plane today and fly to East Timor. Disembark in the Dili airport, go to UNAMET (UN Assistance Mission in East Timor) headquarters, besieged by the killers, (and) simply sit in a chair there, taking a photographer along with you," he wrote

Indonesian Military Was Encouraged By U.S. Admiral

by Allan Nairn U.S. officials say that this past April, as militia terror escalated, a top U.S. officer was dispatched to give a message to Jakarta. Adm. 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. But rather than telling Wiranto to shut the militias down, instead offered him a series of promises of new U.S. assistance

England Is Major Arms Dealer To Indonesia

Britain is one of the main exporters of weapons to Indonesia and several other countries accused of human rights abuses and/or involved in international conflicts, an independent audit released here September 10 says

World Will Never Again Trust UN, Says Horta

by Michael Keats Nobel Peace Prize Winner Jose Ramos Horta said Wednesday that the full force of the world community was needed to prevent genocide of the population in East Timor at the hands of the Indonesian army. "Human beings around the world can still prevent the genocide from taking place by calling on the United Nations, the U.S. Congress, the administration, NATO countries, European Countries, Australia to prevent a new genocide that is going to begin in the next few hours," said Ramos Horta, an exiled Timorese resistance leader. If the United Nations leaves, "genocide will begin...I don't know how people around the world could ever again trust the United Nations," Ramos Horta said. "I don't believe the United Nations will survive this tragedy"

Militias Seize Control of Nation

Fleeing the cities as they did during the 1975 atrocities by Indonesia, a steady stream of families are reported abandoning their homes to hide in the surrounding hills. Others are seeking shelter in schools and churches. Shops open only briefly or not at all as militia members prowl the streets in trucks and on motorcycles

Anarchy in E Timor, Journalists Start Leaving

The air of fear and anarchy deepened here as militia-led violence climbed, prompting the military to evacuate Indonesian journalists Thursday and Jakarta to send in more police forces

IMF, World Bank Helped Fund Militias in East Timor

by Abid Aslam Donors and lenders -- especially the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), chief engineers and enforcers of Indonesia's international bailout -- "need to take some moral responsibility," says Lynn Fredricksson, Washington representative of the East Timor Action Network. Groups such as Fredricksson's for months have been lobbying the World Bank to suspend its East Timor operations and to launch a comprehensive financial audit in light of evidence that foreign aid funds have been misdirected by local authorities to bolster anti-independence forces

Waco Whiplash

by David Corn Wht do Republicans hate Attorney General Janet Reno so much? Reno hasn't been such a bad attorney general for the Republicans. She's requested independent counsels to investigate several of her fellow Cabinet members, including Bruce Babbitt, Henry Cisneros, Ronald Brown, Mike Espy and Alexis Herman. She authorized Kenneth Starr's expansion of his Whitewater inquiry to include the Monica matter. Republicans remain pissed that she said no to an independent counsel investigation of Clinton's fundraising practices. But had she taken the advice of Common Cause and asked for an independent counsel to probe the shady finances of both parties in the 1996 campaign, the GOP would have been quite inconvenienced

Chinese "Threat" to Panama Canal was GOP Creation

by Eric Jackson Let's be blunt about this. Congressional Republicans are talking complete nonsense about Panama, and it's not because they're ignorant. They have polling and focus group data that show a lot of fear and loathing of China these days, they can make a pretty strong case that the Clinton administration took unseemly "soft money" campaign contributions from Chinese interests and they think that it all makes sticky mud for next year's election campaign. The accusations that are being made about Chinese domination of Panama have nothing whatsoever to do with reality here. They're just cynical myths for domestic consumption

Presidential Candidates Stumbling Through Minefields

by Christopher Caldwell Most campaigns have to make a push- comes- to- shove decision about whom to betray -- suburban America or the fetus-wavers/trashcan bangers who make up their activist base

Bush Controversy Changes the Drug Debate

by David Corn Now there's not only a national hubbub over W's wild or not-so-wild youth, but a discourse on drug policy too. The obvious question: If W as a twentysomething partook of a controlled substance and now stands within spitting distance of the White House, what then to make of the Bush-backed drug laws that would place a young adult in the slammer for possessing minuscule amounts of drugs? Despite all the crybaby whining about the intrusive media, rumormongering and gutter politics, Snortgate has generated a decent -- as these things go -- debate on drug matters

Bush Shoots Self in Foot With Cocaine Answers

by Christopher Caldwell Bush has taken the only path possible: If he admits to having done coke, he's dead. But this is the Clintonite path, the path of one who (for whatever reason) cannot give a straight answer. No matter what the polls say -- and they say he's slipping in New Hampshire -- this looks like bad business

Warren Beatty Mulls White House Run

by David Corn A Beatty campaign could be an humiliating flameout, but recall how Ross Perot, a madman, made the budget deficit the number-one issue on the national agenda by running for president in 1992. Might Beatty do likewise for money-and-politics? Probably not, but no one else is willing to give it an all-out try. "He doesn't need to be a sacrificial lamb," Caddell says. "He's waiting to see if other people come forward who want to join in. If so, then it's not just he's crazy, but they're all crazy." In other words, there's sanity in numbers

Enviros Blast UN For Not Protecting Mexican Whale Breeding Grounds

by Pilar Franco The recent decision by UNESCO to exclude a grey whale breeding ground from the category of endangered world heritage sites confronted Mexico with the dilemma of whether to protect the ecosystem -- which includes a nearby lagoon -- or allow it to be incorporated into a saltworks project

U.S. Sold 1 Million Handguns to Third World

by Thalif Deen The United States has sold more than one million handguns to developing nations in the past three years -- even while pushing for a new convention to restrict the thriving global trade in small arms. Washington appeared to be focusing solely on "illicit" arms transfers for two reasons: first, it would avoid upsetting the powerful domestic firearms lobby, and second, such a convention left the door open for the U.S. export of small arms and light weapons, which Albright considered "legitimate"

Evolution Now Under Siege in Schools

by Karine Cunqueiro Kansas is the latest state to face a clash between evolution and creationism that has rocked U.S. schools in recent years. Alabama, Arizona, New Mexico and Nebraska have all made changes that challenge the preeminence of evolution in the scientific curriculum. Other states, such as Washington, New Hampshire, and Tennessee, have considered but ultimately defeated similar bills. At the local level, dozens of school boards are trying to implement similar measures

Money Pouring Into Germany Neo-Nazi Movement

Analysis By Yojana Sharma With only 200 members but a powerful financial backer, the neo-Nazi German People's Union (DVU) seized headlines Sept. 6 for its 5.5 percent of the vote at a key local election in the eastern state of Brandenburg. The DVU will for the first time have five members in the Brandenburg Landtag. "This is a dramatic result (for the far-right)," said the SPD's top candidate in Brandenburg, Manfred Stolpe, who expressed the party's deep disappointment at the results. "With the DVU entry (in the Landtag) it will become more difficult for the community to stand united against right-wing extremism. The violent extreme right has achieved a moral basis in these elections," he said

Yugoslav Power Struggle Begins in Earnest

by Vesna Peric-Zimonjic With the opposition showing its strength on the streets of Belgrade and the ruling Socialists seemingly ready to face early elections, the struggle for power in Yugoslavia has started in earnest. More than 100,000 people -- 150,000 according to organizers --gathered in the streets of Belgrade to demand Pres. Slobodan Milosevic's resignation

Error 404: News Not Found in Your Daily Paper

404 Special: How the Cocaine Scandal Helped George W. Bush. There could be more to the tale than appears -- including the shocking possiblity that his campaign is cynically orchestrating the story. And even if Bush and his pals aren't behind the rumors, the controversy has certainly worked well to his advantage in several ways

U.S. Media Knew Kosovo Reports Were Propaganda

by Peter Phillips The mainstream media in the United States were aware that the Pentagon and NATO were releasing biased and false information regarding the war in Kosovo yet they continued to pass on the information to the American public as if it were gospel. How can we conclude that the mainstream media are free, when they give us unsubstantiated horror stories of rape camps, massacres, and a possible 100,000 Albanians missing, while the military was racking up Serbian civilian targeting and keeping our allies in the dark?

Last Call at Pine Ridge

by Ben Corbett White Clay, Nebraska, an unincorporated town, enjoyed upwards of $4 million in liquor sales last year, 99 percent of which was poured down Indian throats. That's approximately 2,800 cans of beer sold everyday to Lakota patrons, who are forbidden by federal law to purchase and consume alcohol on the reservation only two miles away. Day in and day out, carloads of Indians stream into White Clay to purchase groceries and cold six-packs from white business owners hawking the forbidden wares. Looking towards Pine Ridge, two miles away, heat risers swirl in eddies on the baking asphalt. First the chants are heard, a funeral dirge wailed to the steady pounding of a drum. Then, like a mirage, a throng of Lakotas appears on the vaporous horizon led by two Tribal Police units. Stop for prayers. Onward. Stop for prayers. Onward. Children. Elders. Fighters. The people. Hokahey!

Support Grows for P.R. Islanders Defying U.S. Navy

by Susan Soltero Since the accident that killed the civilian in April, a group of protesters has taken over the beach used for the bombings. Because the land was formerly out of reach, the view was surprising for the people of Vieques, accustomed as they are to pristine beaches. The karst limestone formations are destroyed. Lagoons are dry. Craters are everywhere. Coral reefs are destroyed. For years the Navy claimed it cleaned up the area, but the land and water is still littered with thousands of unspent shells.

China May be Losing Ground to Separatists

by Antoaneta Bezlova For nearly a month now, the Communist Party's commissars have been fighting on three front lines. In a relentless crusade against Falun Gong, the spiritual movement that was outlawed in July, they are trying to demonize its leader and founder, the U.S.-based Li Hongzhi, who they say threatens to throw the country into social chaos

Air Pollution Chokes Beijing

As the October 1st 50th anniversary of National Liberation Day approaches, more than 5,000 construction projects are under way to prepare for the massive celebrations. As a result, there is now a rapid resurgence of air pollution in Beijing

Most of U.S. Liquid Toxic Waste Injected Underground

by Donald Sutherland Maybe it is not a secret, but nobody seems to acknowledge that 60 percent of America's liquid hazardous waste is injected underground where it can contaminate drinking water supplies

Central Asia at Boiling Point

by Ted Rall This is the first time since the Soviet collapse in 1991 that border tensions among the southern breakaway republics (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan) has led to a wholesale collapse of relations. In a region groaning with the largest oil deposits in the world, but where the great mass of people earn $20 to $30 per month, social stability is in short supply. More troubling for America, which props up the "stans'" ex-communist strongmen with CIA cash: We're deeply entrenched both politically and economically in a region that is unviable in both respects

Yeltsin Left With Few Allies

Analysis By Sergei Blagov There is nothing new in snowballing revelations that Russian prominent figures are involved in graft schemes. The nightmarish surprise for president Boris Yeltsin and his inner circle is that Western media are no longer supportive. In Moscow, where conspiracy theories abound, the successful "little war" in Dagestan and a blast in the early morning hours today at a shopping center near the Kremlin -- in which 40 people were injured -- have only made skepticism grow

Monsanto Moving Into Third World After Europe Fights Biotech Seeds

by Muddassir Rizvi After tough resistance to its so-called "terminator" technology in the industrialized countries, Monsanto is now looking at India, Pakistan and China as potential markets for its genetically engineered seeds, whose biosafety impacts are still uncertain

Are Ancient Viruses Lurking In Polar Ice?

by Matt Walker Prehistoric viruses are lying dormant in the polar ice caps -- and a bout of warm weather could release them into the atmosphere, sparking new epidemics. This chilling warning follows the discovery, for the first time, of an ancient virus in Arctic ice

Thailand Blames Burma Junta for Meth Epidemic

by Satya Sivaraman and Apichart Suttiwong Thai officials are calling the large-scale smuggling of narcotic methamphetamine pills through their borders an undeclared "war" on their country by the military regime in neighboring Burma

Nervous Japanese Want More Military Muscle

by Suvendrini Kakuchi As fears continue about North Korea's reported plan to launch a second missile test, more and more Japanese say that perhaps it is time for the military to have more muscle. Some even say Japan should begin to wean itself from the United States, with which it has had a defense treaty for decades and whose security umbrella Tokyo has relied upon for defense

Nuclear Insecurity

by Ira Shorr The post-Cold War world offers no relief from nuclear uncertainty. Consider the case of the Norwegian research rocket launched on Jan. 25, 1995. Russian technicians picked up the rocket on their radar screens and, thinking it was a U.S. nuclear missile that could scatter eight nuclear bombs over Moscow, they prepared to retaliate. For the first time in history, they activated the "nuclear briefcase" that accompanies the president

U.S. Has No Defense Against Bioweapons

by Clark L. Staten Interview with ex-Soviet Colonel Kanatjan Alibekov, First Deputy Chief of the secret Soviet germ warfare program

BP Gets "Greenwash" Award

by Tate Hausman "At the same time as BP announced its solar program, it was in the process of buying ARCO for $26.5 billion," notes author Kenny Bruno. "The few million spent to add solar panels to filling stations means nothing to BP. Meanwhile, in Alaska alone, BP Amoco will spend $5 billion in the next five years on oil exploration and production. Fossil fuels remains at the heart of BP's business. Everything else is window dressing"

Newspapers Are Dumbing Down America, Author Says

by Allan R. Andrews Sommerville's extended argument suggests this "striptease" approach to news mitigates against reflective and wise decision making. Journalism -- especially daily journalism -- in Sommerville's eyes has been a profit-hungry contributor to what his book's subtitle describes as "The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society." We journalists are leading the charge toward a world without wisdom

So How Many Scientists Does It Take?

by Donella Meadows Short of yelling and screaming, which scientists are trained not to do, I don't see how these august people could be more clear. None of their reports concludes that there is nothing to be done, that we must stupidly submit to the consequences of our overconsumption of our own resource base. They are full of constructive, common-sense, affordable, doable suggestions by which human needs could be met without destroying the planetary sources that maintain us

Three Simple Steps to Control Guns

by Molly Ivins We are so blase about gun violence in this country that only these multiple killings now get much media attention. Without three or four or more dead, the media hordes don't show up. But the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of victims of gun violence are single shootings

Republican Spending Money Like No Tomorrow

by Molly Ivins Back when the Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility -- before Ronald Reagan, supply-side economics, the Laffer curve and the $2 trillion debt -- they used to preach to us about the dangers of playing accounting games with the federal budget, and they argued passionately against the evils of pork-barrel spending. That was also before the Republicans took control of Congress

What Ho, Political Junkies!

by Molly Ivins Forget campaign finance, trade with China, health care, child poverty, family values, moral elevation, education and all that jazz -- let's talk politics

Let's Play Hunt the Hypocrites

by Molly Ivins Note the astounding difference between the way the media covered Hillary Clinton's interview in Talk magazine -- the one in which she did NOT excuse her husband's infidelity -- and a far more interesting piece in the same issue of the same magazine about Bush, in which he cruelly mimics an imaginary plea for life from the executed Karla Faye Tucker. Acres of air time on Mrs. Clinton's supposed effort to excuse her husband, hours of tutting and judgmental commentary and psychological parsing of the Clinton marriage; almost nothing (honorable exception to George Will) on the appalling vulgarity of W. Bush. And then there is the even messier problem of Dubya's business dealings

The Persecution of Henry Cisneros

by Molly Ivins It's a good thing I don't believe in a vast, right-wing conspiracy, or I might think there was something a little smelly about a Republican political activist taking four years to investigate a misdemeanor by the most able and charismatic Hispanic public servant the Democrats ever produced

Workers Are Forgotten Majority

by Molly Ivins As the income gap increasingly separates those at the top (who make the decisions about how this society is run) from the great majority, it seems to me that making sure those voices get heard is more and more important -- so important, maybe, that we should celebrate Labor Day twice a year so some actual voices get through

Remembering the Dissident Senator

by Norman Solomon In early August 1964, Wayne Morse was one of only two senators to vote against the Tonkin Gulf resolution, which served as a green light for the Vietnam War. While reviled by much of the press in his home state of Oregon as well as nationwide, he persisted with fierce oratory for peace. It would have been much easier to acquiesce to the media's war fever. But Morse was not the silent type, especially in matters of conscience

Big Media Applaud Big Media Merger

by Norman Solomon Today, some huge corporations are sitting on the windpipe of the First Amendment. Meanwhile, many journalists -- and the public at large -- are gasping for the oxygen of public discourse that allows democracy to breathe. With rare exceptions, news outlets have covered the Viacom-CBS deal as a business story. But more than anything else, it's a story with dire implications for possibilities of democratic media as the 21st century gets underway

Media's Hatred of American Labor

by Norman Solomon We're accustomed to a negative spin about American labor. In other contexts, we might recognize those themes as signs of implicit bias, outright prejudice or even bigotry. For instance: Most of them are fine as individuals. But as a group, they've got to know their place. Otherwise, they could gain control and undermine our country

Press Sidesteps Real Issues in Bush Drug Story

by Norman Solomon Like President Clinton before him, Gov. George W. Bush has now taken to denouncing "the politics of personal destruction." Neither man has acknowledged the hypocrisy of his own politics. News outlets, meantime, have done little to spotlight the huge gaps between policy prescriptions and private actions

Who to Blame for American Hatred and Violence?

by Alexander Cockburn Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas wants a special Senate committee set up to probe "the decline of America's culture." Brownback told Roll Call recently that "what we want to do is take the long view and the deep view of how did we get a culture the way it is today that has got so much violence and so much hatred, destruction and mayhem that is part of it." Brownback sounds as though he is ready to seize the challenge. "Quick blames such as movies and video games are not the answer," he told Roll Call. "None of this provides a satisfactory answer of: 'How did we get to the point of where we are today?' We think if we can answer that question, we can start to look at: 'How do you get out of this?'"

The Press and Waco

by Alexander Cockburn Ted Koppel defines his career role as flack for state power. For him, the issue is not that an agency of government appears to have planned mass murder, exactly as the so-called "conspiracy nuts" first conjectured, then, proved. For him, the issue is the credibility of the state

Cheap Attempt to Discredit Palestinians

by Alexander Cockburn The charge against Palestinians like Edward Said used to be that they wouldn't recognize Israel's right to exist. Here we are in 1999, with Weiner (a former official in Israel's Justice Department of Justice, whose job was to rebut charges of human rights abuses by Israeli security forces) frantically trying to deny Said's right to exist as Palestine's foremost intellectual spokesman

Irish Journalist Faces Jail for Exposing Coverup

by Alexander Cockburn Why would the security forces and judicial apparatus of Northern Ireland want to risk international condemnation for their onslaught on a journalist? The reasons are devious, part of a desperate attempt to salvage the reputation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the British Army

The Making of a Pigeon Activist

by Walter Brasch As national director of the Fund for Animals, Heidi Prescott leads a professional staff of 34 and more than 200,000 supporters who oppose animal cruelty and trophy hunting. They have stopped the killing of mountain lions in California, bison and grizzly bears in Montana, and black bears in Florida. But, Prescott's most militant campaign has been against pigeon shoots

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