Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Skeletons in Closet of New Head Spy are Actually Dead East Timorese

Hey everybody, here's another story about a bunch of civilians dying. Woo hoo following the news is ugh. Obama's new appointee to be the Director of National Intelligence appears to have an ugly history in Indonesia.

Admiral Dennis Blair is a retired Navy man, who appears to have done some pretty awful things against the East Timor independence movement. According to a report filed by Allan Nairn to The Nation in 1999, Blair was sent to Jakarta to tell Gen. Wiranto to shut down the militias that were responsible for much of the destruction against the East Timorese. Instead, he delivered the opposite message. Nairn writes [emphasis added],

"US officials say that this past April, as militia terror escalated, a top US officer was dispatched to give a message to Jakarta. Adm. Dennis Blair, the US Commander in Chief of the Pacific, leader of all US 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 US 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 Liquiça, 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 Liquiça, quickly made clear at the meeting with Wiranto that he was there to reassure the TNI 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 US assistance."

Democracy Now! has a report here, which is wonderful, as always.

Dianne Feinstein, who reacted negatively to Leon Panetta nomination, reacted positively to the Blair news. This whole endeavour is just exhausting. Oh Christ, listen to what she said (via TPM):

"I met Admiral Blair several years ago in Hawaii, when he headed the Pacific Command, and I found him to be very knowledgeable about national security and global affairs. His experience gives him valuable insight into the many challenges facing the intelligence community and makes him a strong nominee for Director of National Intelligence.
"Of critical importance to me is that the next DNI deliver on President-elect Barack Obama's pledges to end the CIA coercive interrogation program, ensure the rule of law is respected, and improve our intelligence collection and analysis capabilities in order to better assess all threats."

This is what Obama's goddamn tenure in office is going to be. This goddamn morning we posted about how the new head of the CIA has written IN WRITING ON PAPER that he refuses, beyond all question, to engage in torture. But that guy, Panetta, will report to a guy, Blair, who promised US aid and assistance to Wiranto, whose militias apparently skinned people.

FUN FACT: If you type "admiral" into Google, its first suggestion is "admiral ackbar." Here is a picture of the Mon Calmari hero. No, no picture, because blogspot sucks today. Picture to come later.

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