Thursday, January 8, 2009

Obama's Pick for Director of National Intelligence, Blair, Human Rights Violator - Odd couple with Panetta

It is no secret that some of President Elect Obama's appointments to top posts have been shocking - and Dennis Blair for Director of National Intelligence is no exception... especially for those who remember his actions during the latter portion of the Clinton Years.

Dennis Blair's actions in Indonesia in the late 90's led to mass genocide and the violation of human rights throughout East Timor, which has shaped the militaristic government mindset still plaguing the people of East Timor to this day. John Miller, the National Coordinator for ETAN (East Timor Action Network) had this to say about the "change" Obama intends to bring to the world:
"It is unfathomable that Obama would consider appointing someone to such a prominent position who has shown so little concern for human rights in the past. Can we expect someone who has sought to undermine efforts to link human rights to military assistance to be a champion of reform? We don't think this is the kind of 'change' people are expecting"

A background on Blair's involvement with this violence: As Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command from February 1999 to May 2002 Blair was the highest ranking U.S. military official in the region during the final period of violence in East Timor, as Indonesian security forces and their militias killed, looted, and destroyed the country's infrastructure.

In April 1999, Blair met in Jakarta with General Wiranto, then the Defense Minister and the commander of Indonesian forces, just days after dozens of refugees in a Catholic church in the town of Liquica, East Timor were hacked to death by machetes by militia members backed by the military (including Kopassus) and Brimob troops.

Instead of pressuring Wiranto to shut down the militias, Blair promised new military assistance, which the military "took as a green light to proceed with the militia operation.

Leon Panetta, Obama's appointment for the head of the CIA, as inexperienced for the post as he is, is truly an odd choice to work with Blair. Panetta's resume for intelligence is virtually non-existent... but what makes him a strange pair for Blair is that Panetta has a history of international philanthropic endeavors on education, oceanic affairs, world hunger, etc.

In one hand you have a hardened military man able and willing to turn a blind eye to genocide, and in the other you have an inexperienced philanthroper heavy into human rights and ecological affairs. And the two will be working together as our Intelligence Heads.

My hat's off to you, Mr. Obama... you have truly puzzled me. Perhaps your inexperience is evident in your cabinet posts - or perhaps you are some sort of shrewd schemer, whose genius is known only but to you.


  1. The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) has a petition on Blair here

  2. The Obamessiah's picks are certainly odd, and in this case, troublesome. But, of more concern is the fact that he is most definitely not making these decisions in a vacuum. He certainly has people advising him in his cabinet appointments, so we have to wonder what the hell they're thinking!