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East Timor ACTION Network ALERT

Print out and distribute leaflet.

Urge Congress to Continue & Expand Restrictions on U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance

On February 26, the Bush administration announced that Indonesia can fully participate in the prestigious IMET military training program for the first time since 1992! Yet the Indonesian military continues to aggressively violate human rights and enjoy impunity for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor and elsewhere. Congress must oppose Secretary of State’s decision.

What You Can Do:

Contact your Representative and 2 Senators. Tell them:

  • The release of full IMET for Indonesia is a setback for human rights, justice and democratic reform.
  • Congress must vigorously protest the State Department’s decision to release IMET funds, reinstate the restriction of IMET for Indonesia, and put in place broad restrictions on all military assistance to Indonesia in the 2006 legislative process.

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 direct phone line, fax or e-mail contact information. Every call makes a difference, so please contact your members of Congress today!

Thanks for your support. Please let us know the results of your efforts. Send updates to etan@etan.org.

For more information, see U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance page or contact ETAN, 718-596-7668

Sample Letter (modify to your own words)

Dear Senator/ Representative [LAST NAME],

I am writing to oppose U.S. support for the Indonesian military. I am disturbed that the administration recently announced that it will allow full IMET for Indonesia, which has clearly failed to meet the congressionally-mandated condition requiring full cooperate with the investigation into the ambush murders of two Americans and an Indonesian in West Papua on August 31, 2002.

The Indonesian military continues to resist reform, evade accountability for human rights violations in East Timor and elsewhere, and commit atrocious human rights violations throughout Indonesia. . According to the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices released just two days after it reinstated full IMET for Indonesia, “Security force members murdered, tortured, raped, beat, and arbitrarily detained civilians and members of separatist movements, especially in Aceh and to a lesser extent in Papua.”

I urge you to vigorously protest the Secretary of State’s certification of IMET and to actively work to renew and strengthen restrictions on all military assistance programs for Indonesia in the FY2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill and upcoming State Department Authorization legislation..

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

NAME
ADDRESS
CITY, STATE ZIP
 

 

Background on U.S. Military Assistance to Indonesia

According to the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices released on Feb. 28, “Security force members murdered, tortured, raped, beat, and arbitrarily detained civilians and members of separatist movements, especially in Aceh and to a lesser extent in Papua.” Yet just two days earlier, the State Department announced that it was resuming full IMET (International Military Education and Training) for Indonesia, training which Indonesian authorities had sought for over a decade but which the U.S. Congress denied them because of the military’s extremely poor human rights record.

Congress first voted to restrict Indonesia from receiving IMET, which brings foreign military officers to the U.S. for training, in response to the November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz massacre of more than 270 civilians in East Timor by Indonesian troops wielding U.S.-supplied M-16 rifles. All military ties with Indonesia were severed in September 1999 as the Indonesian military and its militia proxies razed East Timor.

In November 2004, Congress extended the ban on IMET until the State Department could determine that the Indonesian armed forces and government were cooperating with the FBI's investigation into the August 2002 ambush murders of two Americans and an Indonesian on a U.S. mining company (Louisiana-based Freeport McMoRan) road in West Papua. The Indonesian police and human rights organizations have implicated the military in that attack, which also seriously wounded 11 people. Congress also continued the ban on foreign military financing (FMF) and export licenses for lethal equipment for Indonesia until broader human rights conditions are met.

On February 26, Secretary of State Rice certified that Indonesian authorities had cooperated with the FBI and authorized the resumption of full IMET. But given the lack of progress on this case, the State Department's certification of cooperation is false and misleading. The sole suspect indicted so far by a U.S. grand jury remains at large in Indonesia. His military links, which appear to be extensive, have hardly been examined. For the first six months after the indictment was unsealed, Indonesian police did not inform U.S. investigators about what they were doing regarding the investigation. Stonewalling of the investigation into the ambush by Indonesian authorities will undoubtedly intensify.

Release of full IMET has more to do with fulfilling the Bush administration's long-term goal of increasing assistance for the Indonesian military than bringing to justice all those responsible for the ambush or encouraging democratic reforms. Indonesia has yet to fulfill previous congressional conditions on IMET, including accountability for rights violations in East Timor and Indonesia and transparency in the military budget. In fact, the military continues to aggressively violate human rights, especially in West Papua and tsunami-stricken Aceh. Many of those indicted for crimes against humanity in East Timor continue to maintain powerful positions.

East Timorese and Indonesian NGOs have repeatedly called for restrictions on military engagement to be maintained. Victims and survivors of the West Papua killings have called for restrictions to continue until their case is resolved.

Paul Wolfowitz, a former ambassador to Indonesia who is now Deputy Secretary of Defense and the main architect of the Bush administration’s push to step up military engagement with Indonesia, recently said that Indonesia has entered a “new era.” He once told Congress that "Any balanced judgment" of the country's human rights situation under then-President and dictator Suharto, "needs to take account of the significant progress that Indonesia has already made” due to Suharto's “strong and remarkable leadership." Suharto is considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest war criminals, responsible for the deaths of millions and the plundering of billions from impoverished Indonesia.

For more info see http://etan.org/issues/miltie.htm

Link to this alert at http://www.etan.org/action/action2/25alert.htm

see also

ETAN Condemns Restoration of IMET for Indonesia; Calls State Department's Certification Fraudulent and a Setback for Justice, Human Rights and Reform

Groups Condemn Planned Restoration of IMET for Indonesia; Normalizing Military Relations Will Undercut Limited Progress on Murder Case and Other Human Rights Efforts

New Facts Link Indonesian Military to "Terror Attack" on U.S. Citizens; Rice May Release IMET to Indonesia Before Investigation Concludes

ETAN: Tsunami Must Not Sweep Away Restrictions on Indonesian Military



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