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East Timor Story

This Sunday, May 19, from 10:00am - 1:00pm east coast time, WBAI 99.5 fm/Pacifica will air special live coverage of the beginning of East Timor's independence. Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! have been broadcasting live from East Timor during this past week. One of the stories covered was that of journalist Alan Nairn's work and ordeals in that country.

In 1999, when Alan was arrested by the occupying Indonesian government, Amy Goodman broadcast phone numbers to call. Patty Heffley of NYC Pacifica activist group Save our Station (now Coalition for a Democratic Pacifica, NY) and host of a short-wave radio program called Rogue Finch Radio called the numbers and was the first to learn that Nairn was to be deported.


Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 01:18:09 -0400
To: freepacifica@recordist.com
From: Save Our Station patty@inch.com
Subject: Alan Nairn to be deported

Friday 11:55 PM September 17, 1999

I just got off the phone with a Mr. Suriya (sp) at the detention center in West Timor at the number given on Democracy now - 011-62380-831-880.

He said Alan Nairn would be sent escorted by him tomorrow to Bali and then processed for deportation to Singapore!

I told him I was a citizen of the US calling from New York City. He asked if I was a journalist (I am) - I said yes and then he said "Mr. Alan" overstayed his time (which is 60 days) and that immigration said it was illegal but that he was being released anyhow.

His attitude about Alan Nairn overstaying his visa was quite curious. I told him the killing should stop and we need journalists in the world to watch and keep the world free. He mentioned again that Alan had no regard for the immigration laws by overstaying. This was strange to be so blind to their own crimes considering the atrocities committed by the Indonesian army while occupying the place for 25 years overstaying without a visa! When I mentioned this to him he said "yeah yeah yeah".

The whole idea of allowing Alan Nairn's access to his phone and the fact he had to have been getting his battery charged if he was using it is amazing to me. I wish I could ask him all that stuff. Maybe I will get to if Mr. Suriya is telling the truth.

Which is what I have been wanting to say all along about why Free Speech radio and Pacifica (and all it's stations and journalists) is so important to the world. It ain't about someone's little hour in the sun - broadcasting and not letting go of the ego or the money (for the paid staff). In fact this is one aspect of what is impeding keeping free speech radio alive. It's so much bigger than that. What I am fighting for is the ability for people like Alan Nairn who are risking their lives and bringing to us what is happening in the world - no holds barred. I am interested in preserving the ability for someone to call up and get on the air to talk about what is happening is what this is about. Nothing less. Egos are insignificant compared to this world obligation. Jobs are insignificant to this mission as well. If anyone doesn't get this after what has happened in East Timor and the reports coming from a rogue journalist having a place to report and in turn having saved his own life because of the coverage as well as others' lives, well I refuse to lower my standards.

Patty Heffley
(Rogue Finch Radio)
(Save our Station-WBAI)


Saturday 9:45PM edt
September 18, 1999

I just got off the phone with Alan Nairn at the detention center in West Timor at the number given on Democracy now - 011-62380-831-880.

I called to make a follow up call to keep the pressure on and got to speak directly to Alan. Alan Nairn said he was going to Bali and then deported to Singapore just like Mr. Zurya said yesterday.

Here's what happened;

I called once and no one spoke English very well so I called back and said I was calling from the United Snakes and was calling about Alan Nairn. The guy asked who I was and I said I was Patty from NYC. Then the guy said "Alan, it's a friend. Don't take more than 5 minutes." Alan got on and I told him I was from NYC and WBAI and asked what is going on. He said he would be going to Bali and then deported to Singapore but that it's not over 'til it's over - and that should be in 12 hours. I told him a lot of people are rooting for him here and how great it has been to hear his reports. He thanked me and I told him that when he gets back here I hope we'll get to see him and I will find him and tell him who I am (the enemy to some). I told him our hearts are with him and what is happening to him is why Pacifica must exist. I told him I didn't want to take up any more of his time and bid him adieu.

Amazing that you can call the guy up. Try calling the NYC tombs in Giuliani's gulag.

Patty Heffley
(Rogue Finch Radio)


Media Advisory
Sunday, 19 September 1999

Contact: Amy Goodman, (212)397-xxxx
John M. Miller, (718)596-7668, (516)317-xxxx(mobile)

Journalist Nairn to be Deported, Now in Bali

Journalist Allan Nairn, detained by Indonesia after reporting from East Timor, has been flown to Bali. He is currently at Bali's international airport and will spend the night in Immigration Detention/Quarantine. He has been told he will fly to Singapore on Monday morning.

Monday morning he will be put on Garuda Flight #405 to Jakarta (leaving Bali, 9:50 am; arriving Jakarta, 10:30 am). He will then take Garuda flight #826 (leaving Jakarta 11:45 am; arriving Singapore, 2:25 pm).

Nairn is eager to speak to the press about his experiences on his arrival.

Please note all times listed are Garuda's scheduled flight departures and arrivals.

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