etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer November 4, 1998

Dear Editor,

Thanks for the Off the Top [editorial column] mention about the language in the recently-passed omnibus appropriations bill which bans the use of U.S. supplied weapons in East Timor. One correction: the Indonesian military invaded East Timor (after receiving thumbs up from Kissinger and Ford) in 1975, not 1965. 1965 was actually the year that Suharto rose to power in a campaign of terror that left between 500,000 and a million people dead. The U.S. government supported Suharto practically up to his last minute in office, though his military dictatorship murdered dissidents throughout the archipelago and killed off over a third of the population of East Timor.

Suharto's successor Habibie has made only cosmetic reforms and the military (ABRI) still dominates Indonesian society and reserves the right to terrorize pro-democracy activists or anyone else that threatens its power. We in the U.S. have the chance to end our government's support for ABRI by insisting that our Congresspeople support H.R. 4874, the International Military Training Transparency and Accountability Act, which would close loopholes that have allowed the Pentagon to train some of the nastiest Indonesian special forces troops. This bill would also end programs that train repressive militaries in countries like Guatemala.

Given the levels of terror that our tax dollars have been supporting in Indonesia, East Timor and other Third World countries, calling the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 and telling our Representatives to support H.R. 4874 is the least we can do.

Thanks for fanning my flames of discontent.

Ben Terrall
East Timor Action Network/San Francisco
PO Box 420832
S.F., CA 94117

Published in the (Mendocino County, CA) Anderson Valley Advertiser ("The Country Weekly That Tells It Like It Is--Fanning the Flames of Discontent")

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