|No Military Arms to Indonesia
Cynthia McKinney, Cosponsor the Indonesia Human Rights Before Military Assistance Act
As you know from ongoing news reports, Indonesias financial collapse and political crisis have culminated in mass popular protests and riots met by Indonesian military violence. The people of Indonesia are calling out for fundamental reforms while the Indonesian government continues to sidestep their wishes.
For 32 years General Suharto and his cronies have ruled Indonesia with an unparalled degree of corruption, while severely repressing their own people and, for 22 years, brutally occupying East Timor. Over the last week the world has watched as courageous students and workers in Indonesia have risked their lives to demand an end to this injustice. It is time that the U.S. government send an unmistakable message of support for their demands for both bread and democracy.
There is one clear way for us to send this message: to quit propping up a brutal and anachronistic regime. For this reason, tomorrow, I will introduce the Indonesia Human Rights Before Military Assistance Act. My legislation will simply freeze all remaining U.S. military hardware in the pipeline to be sent to Suharto and the Indonesian military. This freeze will remain in effect until the President of the United States can certify to Congress that whatever Indonesian government is in power, has met specific human and political rights improvements, especially civilian control of the military and a complete cessation of torture and other military violence.
I attach for your information an editorial by Indonesian activist Pius Lustrilanang, recently released from incommunicado detention and torture in Indonesia. After telling his story, which is also the story of some fifty other Indonesian pro-democracy leaders, Mr. Lustrilanang calls on the U.S. to sever all ties with the Indonesian armed forces. I fully agree. And I encourage you to join me by cosponsoring legislation that will not only tell General Suharto that the U.S. will accept no further military violence, but it will also place us clearly on the side of democracy, long overdue it a nation of over 2O0 million people. Please call David Taylor in my office at 5-1605 to become an original cosponser. Thank you.