East Timor ACTION Network ALERT
"JUST SAY NO" TO NEW MILITARY ASSISTANCE FOR INDONESIA
CONGRESSIONAL AND PENTAGON CALL-IN TODAY
The Pentagon, with a handful of Congressional allies, is actively
working to circumvent the ban on military training for the Indonesian
military (TNI) initially put in place in response to the 1999
scorched-earth campaign in East Timor. Even as human rights conditions
continue to deteriorate in Indonesia and justice for East Timor remains
distant, they are seeking to expand military assistance.
For what is the Bush administration seeking to reward the Indonesian
military? Torture, rape, disappearances, and murder in Aceh, West Papua,
and elsewhere in Indonesia; show trials on East Timor in Jakarta; and the
revival of political imprisonment by the Megawati administration. (See
additional background below.)
Urge Congress to put an end to aggressive Pentagon support for the TNI!
Tell Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that a military which terrorizes
its own people is not a worthy ally.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Together with others, make these contacts today. (sample letters follow).
I. Call, fax, and email your Representative and two Senators.
Tell them to use their voice and vote in Congress:
- to prevent the administration from stepping up military
assistance for Indonesia. The Indonesian military should not receive a
U.S. seal of approval while it continues to evade accountability for
crimes against humanity committed in East Timor and terrorize
civilians throughout Indonesia.
- *to ensure that the Indonesian military is not trained under the
secretive new Regional Defense Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program.
This recently passed provision of the Defense Department
Appropriations Act clearly circumvents the International Military
Education and Training (IMET) restriction for Indonesia and has the
potential to create a new "School of the Americas" for Asian
- to ensure that Congress does not grant the administration's new
request for an additional $16 million to train the Indonesian military
and police and "to vet, train, and equip a counter-terrorism unit
- to renew restrictions on IMET and Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
in the fiscal year 2003 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.
Phone calls and faxes are generally more effective than emails. The
congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121 (ask for the office of
your Senators or Representative), or check http://www.congress.org
on the Internet for fax or e-mail information.
II. Call or fax Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
- The Pentagon must not reward the Indonesian military for torture,
rape, disappearances, and murder of civilians throughout
- You oppose Pentagon efforts to gut restrictions on military training
for the TNI because they undermine the rule-of-law and human rights
protections for East Timor and Indonesia. The Pentagon's efforts
legitimize a security force that destroyed East Timor and has rewarded
those responsible with promotions within government and military
Secretary Rumsfeld - telephone: 703-692-7100 or try comment line703-
428-0711; fax: 703-697-9080. (If you get bounced to a message system,
leave a succinct message and, if you want, call again and ask to talk with
a live person.
Please let us know the results of
your contacts. Thank you! Your efforts do make a difference!
Last December, Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Ted Stevens (R-AK)
inserted language in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR
3338, provision 8125) providing $17.9 million to establish a Regional
Defense Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program at the behest of Admiral
Dennis C. Blair, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC).
There are no restrictions on which countries can participate in the new
secretive program, allowing previously banned training for Indonesia. What
will be taught remains undefined. This program is a calculated end-run
around hard won restrictions on training for the TNI in the Foreign
Operations Appropriations Act. (For more information on the Regional
Defense Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program, see ETAN/Indonesia Human
Rights Network media releases: Rights
Groups Condemn End Run on Military Training Restrictions for Indonesia
Bolsters Ban on Training for Indonesia with One Bill, While Opening a
Loophole with Another.
In March, the Bush administration boldly went a step further and
requested another $16 million in a supplemental appropriations request --
$8 million for the "training of civilian and military personnel in
support of humanitarian and peacekeeping activities in Indonesia" and
another $8 million to "vet, train, and equip a counter-terrorism
unit." Congress expects to begin work on the Emergency FY 2002
Supplemental Appropriations request at the end of April and hopes to pass
the bill by the late May's Memorial Day recess.
Meanwhile, the State Department's Country Report on Human Rights
Practices in Indonesia noted, "Security forces were responsible for
numerous instances of, at times indiscriminate, shooting of civilians,
torture, rape, beatings and other abuse, and arbitrary detention in Aceh,
West Timor, Papua… and elsewhere in the country." Nearly 2000
people were killed in Aceh in 2001, the vast majority civilians. Military
and paramilitary crackdowns in Aceh and West Papua have frequently
targeted human rights defenders and those suspected of pro-independence
sympathies. Investigators have accused members of the notorious Kopassus
special forces of the murder of West Papuan independence leader Theys
Eluay, but have shied away from looking into who gave the orders.
The first trials of 18 suspects indicted by the Indonesian ad hoc Human
Rights Court on East Timor began last month in Jakarta. The mandate of
this flawed court is limited to only two months of an extremely brutal
24-year military occupation and three of East Timor's 13 districts.
Recently leaked Australian intelligence intercepts strongly implicate many
senior military personnel not named as suspects by Indonesian prosecutors,
including A.M. Hendropriyono, currently intelligence chief; Major-General
Sjafrie Sjamsuddin, recently promoted to military spokesperson; and
Mahidin Simbolon, now head of the military command in West Papua. Military
officers, including high-level personnel, have packed the courtroom in
Jakarta to show solidarity with the defendants. As expected, lawyers for
the defense have already questioned the constitutionality of the court.
See ETAN media release 10
Reasons Why Indonesian Courts Will Not Bring Justice to East Timor for
further explanation. In a separate case in Indonesia, the trial of three
militiamen charged with the murder of a New Zealand peacekeeper resulted
in a "not guilty" verdict.
While East Timorese refugees are returning at an increased rate in
recent weeks, some 60,000 refugees remain in West Timor. Militia
intimidation and misinformation remain rampant, and security for the
refugees inadequate. A recent UN report by the UN noted that the presence
of hard-line militia in West Timor pose a long-term threat to East Timor's
peace and security. Humanitarian conditions continue to deteriorate in the
camps, especially as the Indonesian government has largely ended its
assistance. An estimated 1600 East Timorese refugee children remain
separated from their parents, some 170 of whom were sent to orphanages and
other institutions throughout the archipelago as part of militia-run
In the fall of 1999, the U.S. Congress cut off IMET and foreign
military financing for Indonesia until it meets certain conditions
pertaining to East Timor, including the return of refugees and
accountability for human rights violations in East Timor and Indonesia. In
2002 additional conditions were added pertaining to Indonesian military
reform and the release of political detainees. Conditions on these
restrictions, known as the "Leahy Conditions," must be renewed
annually in the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. Work will soon
begin on this year's bill.
For more information, check out ETAN's website, www.etan.org,
or contact ETAN Outreach and Media Coordinator John M. Miller, email@example.com,
SAMPLE LETTERS (try to modify to
use your own words)
To Members of Congress
Write: Your Senator, Senate, Washington, DC 20510
Your Representative, House of Representative, Washington, DC 20515
Dear Senator or Representative (choose which),
I am writing to urge you to actively oppose U.S. military assistance
for Indonesia. The Indonesian military should not receive U.S. support
while it continues to evade accountability for crimes against humanity
committed in East Timor and continues to torture, murder and rape
civilians throughout Indonesia.
I am especially concerned that the secretive new Regional Defense
Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program will be used to evade important
existing Congressional restrictions. This program clearly circumvents
restrictions on International Military Education and Training (IMET) for
Indonesia. I urge you to oppose Indonesia's participation in this program,
as well as the administration's recent request for an additional $16
million to train the Indonesian military and police.
Finally, I support the renewal of existing restrictions on IMET and
Foreign Military Financing (FMF) in the fiscal year 2003 Foreign
Operations Appropriations bill. U.S. policy must support human rights, not
abusive militaries like Indonesia's should not be rewarded.
I look forward to your response.
Fax to 703-697-9080, use an online form http://www.dod.gov/faq/comment.html
or mail to
Secretary of Defense The Pentagon Washington, DC 20301
Dear Secretary Rumsfeld,
I am writing to voice my strong opposition to your efforts to increase
U.S. military assistance for Indonesia. The Indonesian military (TNI)
should not receive U.S. support while it continues to evade accountability
for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor and continues to
torture, murder and rape civilians throughout Indonesia.
Your attempts to gut restrictions on military training for the TNI
undermine the rule-of-law and human rights protections for East Timor and
Indonesia and subvert carefully calculated congressional actions. Your
efforts legitimize the security force that destroyed East Timor and has
rewarded those responsible with promotions within government and military
ranks. Administration initiatives taken within the last year to work more
closely with the TNI and resume commercial non-lethal defense sales have
done nothing to advance military reform.
I urge you to end your efforts to resume military ties with the
Indonesian military. They run counter to our nation's professed support
for human rights and democracy, while contributing to political
instability in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country.
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