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What Others Say About ETAN

ETAN is "A voice of reason, criticizing the administration's reluctance to address ongoing human rights violations and escalating oppression in West Papua and against religious minorities throughout Indonesia." — Noam Chomsky

Amy Goodman"I’ve long admired ETAN’s work. For well over a decade, ETAN has conducted some of the most effective grassroots campaigns I know. With limited resources, they helped free a nation and fundamentally changed policy toward one of the U.S.’s closest and most repressive allies, Indonesia."
— Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now!


Having campaigned for Timor-Leste's independence for many decades, and as President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste for the last five years, I know that ETAN (East Timor and Indonesia Action Network) has consistently supported our people during bad and good times.
 — President Jose Ramos-Horta

Jose Ramos-Horta

Caleb Rossiter"ETAN has done more for U.S. national security than several divisions of the U.S. army and more for human rights than the entire State Department."
— Caleb Rossiter, former Congressional Aide; longtime
activist for arms control and disarmament (Feb. 2001)


James Dunn"As it should be, custody of our democracy, our national conscience, is by
no means the property of our legislature; it is shared with a better informed and more watchful community, alerted by the invaluable services of organizations like ETAN." — James Dunn, author with four decades of experience as an Australian foreign affairs official and with UN agencies. He served as Australian consul in Portuguese Timor. From 1971 to 1985 he worked as Foreign Affairs advisor to the Federal Parliament of Australia. He was a 2000-2001 UNTAET expert on crimes against humanity in East Timor.

Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles and Secrets from Timor-LeteThe best means for readers to keep up to date with developments in TImor-Leste is to subscribe to the news service of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). This is a tremendous resource, run on shoestring... out of an apartment in Brooklyn, New York. —Gordon Peake, Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles and Secrets from Timor-Leste

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Another main hub for international distributions of news on east Timor and calls for action was the website of the US based solidarity organisation ETAN (East Timor Action Network). ETAN became renowned for having an impressive number of international mailing list subscribers and for holding one of the best Internet archives on East Timor...

'The wide spread and well-functioning network of local solidarity groups became apparent when, in response to the militia violence in 1999, thousands of protesters could be mobilised at a moment's notice. In the United States ETAN asked its supporters to telephone the White House to demand international intervention in East Timor. The massive response to this appeal caused the disconnection of several of the White House's telephone lines.' — Annette Jansen, Anti-genocide Activists and the Responsibility to Protect, Routledge, 2017

A worldwide movement sprang up in the aftermath of the [November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz] massacre to demand freedom for East Timor. In the United States, the East Timor Action Network was formed... Grassroots efforts resulted in thousands of letters and phone calls to Congress. Military assistance to Indonesia was cut back over its abuses in East Timor against the wishes of successive Republican and Democratic administrations." Amy Goodman, The Exception to the Rulers

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Maria StephanTransnational advocacy networks: East Timor Action Network is an awesome example in my view of what a very diverse and highly mobilized movement did for self determination movement in this country and elsewhere  using the media, using political advocacy, using very creative non-violent direct action tactics. - Maria Stephan, Academic Advisor, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict speaking at session on External Actors at Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict, June 9, 2015. Video here.

Indonesia's former foreign minister "said the case of Timor Leste showed that Indonesia should never underestimate the power of non-governmental organizations when they united behind a particular cause. They could influence their respective governments, he added, and had showed that Timor Leste
was not 'a mere pebble anymore but became something that burdened Indonesia.'"
 — The Jakarta Post. August 10, 2006

Papua Political Prisioner Filep Karma with his daughter Audryne I do really appreciate your campaign to release political prisoners in Papua. Please send my regard to ETAN comrades. One day I believe I will be free. Visiting ETAN comrades will be my priority. -- Filep Karma

"Wolfowitz background exposed. For those who think that the announcements by Bush and Wolfowitz on Wednesday may have glossed over some of the more interesting aspects of his track record, help is at hand. We can recommend articles in the Village Voice, the Asia Times, the East Timor Action Network, and Indonesia Alert." web site (March 18, 2005)

"[T]he East Timor Action Network in the US... exercises strong lobbying power in Washington." - "Timor Explores New Boundaries," Australian Financial Review, March 25, 2004 (quoted on the floor of the Australian Senate)

Take the East Timor Action Network. I've experienced the impact of this grassroots organizing firsthand. Today I am very active in my support of the people of East Timor, who for years have suffocated under Indonesia's brutal repression. But I hadn't always planned to become involved in East Timor, because I wasn't always aware of the situation there. But then, more than seven years ago, the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of the East Timor Action Network - ETAN - brought the plight of the East Timorese people to my attention. — Senator Russell Feingold at Brown University, March 17, 2000

[In 1999] a really significant source of pressure was the US Congress, where many senators and representatives were urging immediate action. All of the years of lobbying by undertaken by US activists were paying off.
Clinton Fernandes, Reluctant Saviour

Lonely Planet Guide

[ETAN] is a US-based organization, with a vast array of links, articles and information on current issues.
— Lonely Planet Guide for Timor-Leste (East Timor)

ETAN began in the USA in response to the Santa Cruz massacre and soon became
a key reference point for international East Timor activism and advocacy.
Timor Archives

ETAN - has been one of the most influential of the grassroots support and lobby groups that have taken up the cause of the East Timorese people to end the horrific abuses, to end the illegal occupation, and to assist the new nation of Timor-Leste on its course through independence.
— Peter Cronau is an Australian-based journalist specialising in Pacific affairs. He is a co-founder of Pacific Media Watch. He is a Gold Walkley Award-winning (2006) producer and researcher.

ETAN: Badass Activists

"To the international solidarity we extend a profound word of thanks from our people. We continue to count on you to receive other forms of support, geared towards alleviating the hardships of our most needy populations and to the strengthening of the ties of friendship among people." President Xanana Gusmao's Inaugural Speech, May 20, 2002

In 2012, a now-high ranking State Department official recalled her time as a human rights officer in Washington more than a decade before. She described ETAN as “punching above its weight” in revealing ongoing Pentagon training of Indonesian soldiers, leading Congress and the State Department to cancel the program. She said that she often uses ETAN as an example of effective citizen action, and that our work in the 1990s has had lasting, worldwide impact in curtailing U.S. training for armies which violate human rights.

ETAN began in the USA in response to the Santa Cruz massacre and soon became a key reference point for international East Timor activism and advocacy. - Timor Archives, CHART

James Dunn"ETAN deserves all the support we can give it. In the past it played a key role in bringing about international involvement in East Timor, and since then has kept us well informed, a role increasingly important now that East Timor not longer has a high profile internationally. In fact the continuation of its news service is very important backing for the new nation, on its long, and hard, journey to its leaders' goals of independence, prosperity, social harmony and an enduring and stable relationship with Indonesia." James Dunn, December 2003

Rep. Dennis Kucinich "Apart from official Washington, the American people have been a reliable friend of the East Timorese. Americans established the East Timor Action Network, participated in Peace Brigades International, dedicated their personal savings through individual foundations and trusts--all with the goal of helping the East Timorese people overcome great odds. Americans gathered in living rooms and lecture halls throughout the country to learn the truths about the oppression of East Timor ; they demonstrated on sidewalks and lobbied their Congress, they met with newspaper editors and other journalists in order to bring out the truth; and a few brave Americans sacrificed their personal safety in East Timor to shed light on the reality of Indonesian government oppression." Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

Then and now, even ETAN's critics acknowledged (sometimes grudgingly) that its carefully researched analysis and advocacy could not be factually faulted. My contacts in government indicate that the current administration retains that same level of respect for the credibility and effectiveness of ETAN's articulate advocacy. A recent nominee for a senior State Department position with responsibility for Indonesia was cautioned by colleagues, "You don't want to get on the wrong side of these guys."

My own conversion to in-house critic of the policy of cooperation with the Indonesian military at the Embassy was heavily influenced by my contacts with ETAN and conversations with members I met as I travelled through Indonesia and East Timor.

  Ed McWilliams, Senior Foreign Service Officer (Retired),
Political Counselor. U.S. Embassy in Jakarta

"For years, Washington insiders said it could never happen, as administration after administration actively assisted the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. I think you'll agree with me that the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) not only proved that independence for East Timor was possible but helped make it happen. ETAN harnessed the power of ordinary people in the United States -- people like you and me -- to redirect the policy of the most powerful government in the world. I can't think of a better recent example of grassroots action changing U.S. foreign policy."
Howard Zinn, historian (December 2002)

“ETAN channeled our voices of opposition to U.S. policies blocking East Timorese self-determination, and in so doing became a powerful force for change.” - Noam Chomsky, MIT Professor of Linguistics and long-time supporter of East Timor (December 2001)

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After the November 1991 Santa Cruz massacre..., U.S.-based sympathizers coalesced into the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) in New York City with affiliated cells across the United States.With active financial and intellectual  support of the preceding activists CharlesScheiner and John M. Miller mobilized a grassroots avalanche of direct appeals and direct lobbying of U.S. Congress. So astounding was their success that ETAN widespread recognition, including from celebrated American author Howard Zinn...
 -Professor Awet Tewelde Weldemichael, Third World Colonialism and Strategies of Liberation: Eritrea and East Timor Compared

"These corporations are worried that a handful of U.S. activists--led by the East Timor Action Network and investigative reporter Allan Nairn--will overturn the U.S. policy of constant support for Suharto." Progressive Magazine, May 1997.

“The progress in American policy is a direct result of the grassroots work of the East Timor Action Network. By keeping the issue in the media and keeping policymakers aware that voters are watching, ETAN has helped to shift Washington’s perspective. ETAN’s work with Congress, in particular, has developed a constituency which does not let Pentagon officials and State Department desk officers proceed with business as usual."
 — José Ramos Horta, Nobel Laureate (July 1998)

“East Timor will not follow the path of those in Nicaragua or Mozambique who believed that international activist support was no longer important once independence had been achieved. We have waged East Timor’s struggle with the help of concerned people from around the world, and we will continue to remember and rely on you in this new phase of East Timor’s history.”
— José Ramos Horta, letter to Utrecht International Solidarity Conference, May 2000

"Though it can't take credit for the event, the fall of Indonesian dictator made 1998 an especially sweet year for the East Timor Action Network. The Network, which fights for self-determination for East Timor - which was invaded by Indonesia, with US backing, in 1975 -- can take more direct credit for some important victories in Washington."
—Ten Groups Who Make a Difference (Counterpunch) December 1998

"I don' recall in my work as a writer/researcher ever having found a site like which is as thorough, resourceful, accessible and detailed as yours (and I have been on many!).
— Manfred Becker, filmmaker

"Nonviolent direct action in support of East Timor’s independence assumed a transnational character. In the United States, the East Timor Action Network, a network of human rights organizations, religious groups, and other grassroots organizations created after the Dili massacre, successfully pressured the U.S. government to stop providing Indonesia with military aid and training until it ended the human rights abuses in East Timor and allowed self-determination there. In 1992 the U.S. Congress passed a resolution cutting International Military Education Training (IMET) funding to Indonesia, despite a strong effort by Jakarta’s corporate allies to block the resolution. The State Department blocked the transfer of F-5s to Indonesia, and in 1994 Congress passed a law banning the sale of small arms to Indonesia. Although the Clinton White House continued to sell arms to Indonesia (and for a period of time reinstituted IMET), sustained grassroots pressure made East Timor a central issue in U.S.-Indonesian relations." Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth,"Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict," International Security, volume 33, issue 1, pages 7-44, Summer 2008

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank you for the wonderful service you provide to us all; the sharing of information is crucial to all of us involved in/ with Timor-Leste and we would be lost without ETAN! Siobhan



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