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East Timor ACTION Network ALERT

Call Your Representative Today to Sign Letter to Powell to Say “NO” to New Financing for Indonesian Military

The Bush administration is working to assist the brutal Indonesian military with alarmingly new haste. ETAN has recently learned of State Department plans to budget foreign military financing (FMF) for Indonesia in 2006. FMF, which funds weapon sales, has been banned for Indonesia since 2000 following its scorched-earth campaign in East Timor. Not a single Indonesian officer has served jail time for the crimes against humanity committed then, and the military continues to commit heinous rights violations with impunity throughout the archipelago.

The final decision on inclusion of FMF in the 2006 State Department budget has not yet been made. Please join us in sending a resounding message to the Bush administration that we say "NO" to its latest attempt to prop up the brutal Indonesian military! Call your Representative today and urge her/him to sign a Congressional letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell stating that foreign military financing for Indonesia is ill-advised and should not be included in the Bush Administration’s fiscal year 2006 budget request.

Signers to date (Oct. 1): McGovern (D-MA), Evans (D-IL), Oberstar (D-MN), Baldwin (D-WI), Serrano (D-NY), Meehan (D-MA), McCollum (D-MN), DeFazio (D-OR), Payne (D-NJ), Grijalva (D-AZ), Tancredo (R-CO), Holt (D-NJ), Kucinich (D-OH), Weiner (D-NY), Karen McCarthy (D-MO), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Farr (D-CA), Watson (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Langevin (D-RI), Gerlach (R-PA), Lowey (D-NY), Mark Udall (D-CO), Hoeffel (D-PA), Lee (D-CA), Frank (D-MA), Filner (D-CA), Herseth (D-SD), Stark (D-CA), George Miller (D-CA), Hinchey (D-NY), Brady (D-PA), Bordallo (D-Guam), Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), Schakowsky (D-IL)

What YOU can do:

Contact your Representative today. We need to get this letter out fast with as many signatures as possible. The deadline is in only a week and a half.

Phone calls are the most effective way to contact your Representative. The Congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121; ask for your Representative's office. Then ask to speak with the foreign policy aide. If you don't know who your Representative is, go to to find out. If you are not able to make a phone call, then fax. Emails are a last option, but are generally less effective than phone calls and faxes. Please let us know the results of your efforts -- by email,, or phone, 202-544-6911.

Talking points:

  1. Urge your Representative to sign Representatives Patrick Kennedy’s (D-RI) and Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) Dear Colleague letter urging Secretary of State Powell not to include foreign military financing (FMF) for Indonesia in the State Department’s fiscal year 2006 budget request.
  2. Restricting FMF sends a critical message to the Indonesian military that they must stop killing, raping and torturing throughout Indonesia and that they must be held accountable for human rights violations.
  3. Congress has restricted FMF for Indonesia since FY 2000, conditioning its provision on military budget transparency and accountability and justice for gross human rights violations. These conditions have not been met, and the prospect of military reform remains bleak. Provision of FMF for Indonesia in 2006 is premature, unwarranted, and unwise.

Offices should contact Dominic Nguyen in Representative Patrick Kennedy’s office to sign the letter. The deadline has not been firmly established but will be during the last week of September.

Together we can pre-empt Bush’s move to seriously vamp up aid to the Indonesian military. Thank you for your efforts! They make a big difference.

A copy of the Congressional letter follows:

September X, 2004

Dear Secretary Powell:

We are deeply concerned that the Department of State is considering provision of foreign military financing (FMF) for Indonesia. FMF for Indonesia is ill-advised and should not be included in the Administration’s FY06 budget request.

As you are aware, Congress has restricted FMF for Indonesia since FY 2000, conditioning its provision on Indonesian military (TNI) budget transparency and accountability and justice for gross human rights violations. There has been no such justice served, and impunity remains firmly entrenched. Recently, an appeals court in Indonesia overturned the only convictions of Indonesian military and police charged with crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999. The State Department declared, “We are profoundly disappointed with the performance and record of the Indonesian ad hoc tribunal.” The tribunal on the 1984 massacre of Muslim protesters at Tanjung Priok in Jakarta has been gravely disappointing. Further, because of the absolute lack of cooperation by Indonesian government and security forces with the East Timor-UN Serious Crimes Unit, 75 percent of those accused remain at large in Indonesia.

The rights record of the TNI continues to be unacceptable. Crackdowns against civilians have escalated in West Papua. The end of martial law in Aceh has not led to improvements on the ground. Since May, hundreds have been killed. Support for Laskar Jihad, nationalist, and other terrorist militia to cause and provoke conflict remains a common strategy of the TNI.

Despite Congressional and other calls for greater transparency in the TNI’s budget, the military remains a massively corrupt institution, with less than a third of its funding provided by Jakarta. Much of the rest comes from illegal and semi-legal activities, including prostitution, drug-dealing, environmentally destructive logging, and trafficking in people.

While Indonesia's civilian institutions deserve praise for the country's first direct presidential election, we have grave concerns over the prospects for real military reforms. President Megawati has not yet demonstrated a willingness to assert power over the TNI. Leading presidential candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was a general under Suharto and a commander in East Timor in the 1980s.

Restricting FMF sends a critical message to the TNI and should not be dispensed until there is genuine reform and justice for rights violations. To date, however, reform and accountability are absent. Provision of FMF for Indonesia in FY06 is premature, unwarranted, and unwise.

We thank you for your serious consideration and look forward to your prompt response.






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