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West Papua Advocacy Team: Open Letter to Westmont College on Kissinger and West Papua

Henry KissingerWe are writing to express our deep concern about Westmont?s planned sponsorship of a paid speaking engagement with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Secretary Kissinger was deeply involved with some of the most unfortunate moments in U.S. foreign policy, infamously scripting the military coup in Chile and green lighting the Indonesian invasion of East Timor by Indonesia. He shares with President Nixon responsibility for our disastrous policy in Indochina.


Dr. Kissinger's central role in the great human tragedy which engulfed West Papua under Indonesian occupation constitutes grounds for his prosecution as a war criminal.

Less well known is Dr. Kissinger's role in the human tragedy in West Papua which transpired while he was National Security Adviser and Secretary of State.  West Papua, a land of largely Christian and animist Melanesian people, were progressing toward independence from Dutch colonial control.  In 1962, the U.S., seeking to appease Indonesia in an act of cold war real politic, negotiated a UN mandate for neighboring Indonesia in West Papua.

In 1969 the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia perpetrated a blatant fraud in West Papua by annexing that area under the rubric of a clearly fraudulent "Act of Free Choice."  Violating its commitment under the UN mandate to administer a genuine ballot, Indonesia, after several years of brutal military occupation, instead engineered a 1969 ballot among a small group of Papuans who "voted" for annexation under conditions of extreme intimidation.  Both before and after the "vote," Indonesian security forces employed military force against Papuan civilians pressing for a genuine act of self determination. Thousands of Papuans died in this severe repression which continues to this day.

In his capacity as National Security Adviser and subsequently as Secretary of State, Dr. Kissinger orchestrated critical U.S. diplomatic and military support for this repression, including overseeing provision of U.S. OV-10 Bronco aircraft which strafed and bombed Papuan villages.

Dr. Kissinger's central role in the great human tragedy which engulfed West Papua under Indonesian occupation constitutes grounds for his prosecution as a war criminal.

A decision by Westmont College to accord a paid speaking engagement to Dr. Kissinger is wholly inconsistent with Westmont's reputation as a highly regarded Christian institution.

Charles Farhadian, PhD, Professor, Religious Studies. Westmont College,
Edmund McWilliams, retired U.S. senior Foreign Service Officer, and 
for the West Papua Advocacy Team
Octo Mote, Chair, West Papua Negotiator Team

more on Kissinger 

see also West Papua Report


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