East Timor ACTION Network ALERT
Stop the Resumption of U.S. Military Training for Indonesia!
Human Rights Restrictions on Imet Training Must Be Maintained
Call your Representative today!
The Indonesian military remains brutal, unreformed and undemocratic,
and it continues to enjoy impunity for its many abuses in East Timor and
elsewhere. However, the Pentagon and Bush administration are working to
resume prestigious U.S. military training programs for Indonesia in the
name of 'counter-terrorism.'
Our best bet for maintaining the important human rights restrictions
currently placed on military training for Indonesia is the House
Appropriations committee. In early September, this committee will decide
whether to continue restricting International Military Education and
Training (IMET) programs for Indonesia.
Call your Representative TODAY and urge her/him to sign on to the
following letter asking the committee to keep these restrictions in place!
The Congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121.
The letter is being circulated by Representative Chris Smith's office
until FRIDAY, AUGUST 30. Your Representative's office can sign on by
contacting George Phillips in Smith's office at 202-225-3765 * BEFORE AUG
Congress is under pressure to turn its back on human rights and allow
the resumption of IMET training for Indonesia. They need to hear from YOU
and phone calls are the most effective to send your message.
If you don't know who your representative is go to
enter your zip code.
Thank you for your call - it DOES make a difference!
The Honorable Jim Kolbe
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations
Dear Chairman Kolbe:
We are writing to urge you to renew both the International Military
Education and Training (IMET), and Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance to Indonesia when you consider the
FY03 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.
In our view, the recent Senate Appropriations Committee vote to restore
IMET funding for Indonesia by appropriating $400,000 for this purpose was
a serious mistake that is not in the long-term interests on the United
Although supporters of IMET and FMF funding for Indonesia claim that
these programs are necessary to help Indonesia wage a war on terrorism,
the reality is that Congress has already provided more than adequate
funding (up to $16 million) in the FY02 Supplemental Appropriations Act
alone for the training of Indonesian police. In addition, over the
objections of many Representatives and Senators, the Indonesian military
(TNI) will be receiving $4 million of unrestricted U.S. military
assistance through the Regional Counterterrorism Fellowship program
under the FY02 Defense Appropriations Act.
Examining the behavior of the TNI over the last several years, it is
clear that instead of enhancing the region's stability, the TNI has
aggressively worked to destabilize it. The horrendous human rights abuses
of the TNI in East Timor are already well known. But what is less well
known is the fact that members of the TNI and the Indonesian government
appear to be providing support for a fundamentalist Islamic militia called
the Laskar Jihad. Similar to East Timor, the TNI is supporting a
fundamentalist militia in order to exacerbate conflict in regions
throughout the archipelago - including attacking Christian communities in
the Maluku Islands and South Sulawesi. There is no evidence linking the
Laskar Jihad in Indonesia to the Al Qaeda network. But it seems foolish
for the U.S. to be providing military assistance to the TNI when instead
of working against terrorists, it assists an Islamic extremist militia
with proven human rights violations.
Although the Pentagon and State Department will argue that the
assistance to the Indonesian military is needed to ensure stability in
Indonesia, the record of the TNI is the exact opposite. Abuses by
Indonesia's security forces have fueled separatist sentiment in Aceh and
Papua. Attacks on civilian leaders, such as the November assassination of
the leading Papuan leader Theys Eluay, have undermined efforts at the
peaceful resolution of conflicts. In addition, the TNI is recruiting,
training and arming the "Merah Puti" (red and white) militia in
Papua. This militia, plus the Muslim fundamentalist paramilitaries, are
terrorizing civilians under TNI direction.
Recent statements by the Secretaries of Defense and State that U.S.
training of the TNI will somehow foster respect for civilian authority and
human rights are not plausible. There is no evidence to support this
proposition. Fortyseven years of IMET funding for Indonesia did not curb
human rights abuses. Under President Megawati, the TNI is arguably as
powerful as ever before, and there is almost no incentive for the TNI to
reform. Indonesia has not been serious in punishing the scores of TNI
General and Colonels who are strongly suspected of war crimes and massive
human rights violations in East Timor in the late 1990s. The first
verdicts issued by Indonesia's ad hoc human rights court on East Timor -
six acquittals and one three-year sentence for crimes against humanity -
Academics, human rights defenders, as well as Administration officials
have stated that, at this point, military reform has essentially ended in
Indonesia. Funding the TNI only gives a US stamp of approval to ongoing
abuses, and sends a signal that no matter how egregious the human rights
violations by the TNI may be, Uncle Sam's handouts will never stop coming.
By contrast, renewal of the IMET restrictions will convey a powerful
message that the United States will not tolerate policies by the TNI which
undermine the stability of the region, support Islamic extremist
organizations, and violate the human rights of ordinary citizens.
Thank you for your consideration.
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