|November 4, 1998
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.
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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