|Subject: CONG: Hefley on banning IMET
July 16, 2003
HEFLEY STRIPS INDONESIA OF MILITARY TRAINING FUNDS UNTIL U.S., COLORADAN RECEIVE ANSWERS TO TERRORIST ATTACK
Littleton Man Killed, Wife Injured in West Papau Terrorist Attack
(Washington, D.C. - July 16, 2003) U.S. Representative Joel Hefley (R-CO) today won passage of an amendment to punish Indonesia for its lax investigation into an August 2002 terrorist attack that left two Americans dead and eight critically wounded. The amendment was included as part of the fiscal years 2004 and 2005 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, and will prevent Indonesia from receiving International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds until the President and Congress conclude that Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed Forces are conducting a full investigation of the attack and criminally prosecuting the perpetrators.
"The victims of this attack and their families deserve a thorough investigation by the Indonesian and U.S. governments," said Hefley. "It is not too much to demand answers about who orchestrated and carried out this ambush and see the perpetrators brought to justice. Until the Indonesian government decides to cooperate with U.S. investigators and provide credible and honest answers about the attack, the U.S. will withhold military education and training funds."
Littleton, Colorado resident Patsy Spier, who was a victim of the attack and whose husband was killed, approached Hefley in March about seeking support for a thorough investigation of the attack. At her urging, Hefley wrote to President Bush seeking a hold on IMET funds and introduced an amendment to do the same.
The attack occurred as teachers from the Tembagapura International School were on a picnic outing in Papua, Indonesia on August 31, 2002. The two vehicles carrying the passengers were ambushed, killing Coloradan Rick Spier, Oregonian Tom Burgon and one Indonesian man, and injuring eight others, including a six-year-old child.
Following an investigation of the attack, the Indonesian Police issued a report concluding that "there is a strong possibility that the Tambagapura case was perpetrated by members of the Indonesian National Army Force...." In November 2002, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that "United States intelligence agencies have intercepted messages between Indonesian army commanders indicating that they were involved in staging an ambush at the remote mine in which three school teachers, two of them Americans, were killed...."
Despite this intelligence, the investigation of the attack has faltered. The Indonesian police have been removed from the case and responsibility for the investigation has been given to the Indonesian military, which has exonerated itself. American investigative teams have attempted to conduct their own investigation, but have been prevented from fully examining the evidence.
"The evasions and obstructions of the Indonesian military are wholly unacceptable," said Hefley. "The victims deserve to know their assailants and the American government needs to know. Our country is vigilant in its war on terrorism and will not abide foreign nations that instigate terrorist attacks or harbor terrorists. The Indonesian government needs to realize that our withholding of education and training dollars is only one salvo in our effort to bring the perpetrators of the Papua attacks to justice. We will use every resource available to get the answers we need and deserve."
A Senate amendment was introduced by Russ Feingold (D-WI), but is pending approval by the full Senate. The content of Hefley's floor statement follows:
Statement of the Honorable Joel Hefley Amendment to HR 1950
Mr. Chairman, my amendment is intended to highlight a troubling situation in Indonesia.
On August 31, 2002, the staff of the International School in West Papua, Indonesia decided to take a picnic. The teachers lived and worked in Tembagapura, a company town located high in the mountains near the Grasberg gold and copper mine. The group of eleven people, including a six-year old child, drove in two vehicles to a picnic site about ten miles away on the road to Timika. Because it began to rain, they decided to return to town for lunch.
The road they were traveling on is not an ordinary road. The road is surrounded by the gold and copper mine, and is heavily guarded by the Indonesian military. At both ends of this mountain road are military check points, which seals the road and control access to Tembagapura.
As they returned home, the group was brutally attacked by a band of terrorists. Two Americans, Ted Burgon (from Oregon) and Rick Spier (from Colorado), and an Indonesian man were killed in the ambush. The attack, which occured less than a half-mile away from an Indonesian military check point, went on for approximately 45 minutes. Hundreds of rounds were fired at the teachers and their vehicles. Most of the survivors, including the six-year old child, were shot. Several of the teachers were shot multiple times and suffered horrible injuries.
Ted Burgon of Sunriver, Oregon was killed and his wife Nancy suffered facial cuts and abrasions. Rick Spier of Littleton, Colorado was killed, and his wife Patsy was shot in the back and foot. Francine Goodfriend of Rockford, Illinois was shot and has a spinal cord injury.
Steven Emma of Broward County, Florida was shot in the legs, buttocks, and suffered injuries to his back. Lynn Poston of Olga, Washington was shot in the shoulder and legs. Suandra Hopkins of Sunriver, Oregon was shot in the side, legs, and pellets around the eye and his wife Taia was shot in the buttocks.
Following the attack, the Indonesian Police promptly began an investigation. They collected evidence, interviewed witnesses and reconstructed the ambush. The Indonesian Police issued a report (that I ask for unamous consent to submit for the record) concluding, "there is a strong possibility that the Tambagapura case was perpetrated by members of the Indonesian National Army Force, however, it still needs to be investigated further."
In early November 2002, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that "United States intelligence agencies have intercepted messages between Indonesian army commanders indicating that they were involved in staging an ambush at the remote mine in which three school teachers, two of them Americans, were killed...." The Washington Post has reported these same intelligence intercepts.
Despite this intelligence, the investigation of the attack has faltered. The Indonesian Police have been effectively removed from the case due to their report that implicated the military. The two senior Indonesian police officers who uncovered evidence of the army's involvement have been transferred to new posts, and the investigation has now been handed over to a joint military police team. Not surprisingly, the Indonesian military has exonerated itself. American investigative teams, including the FBI, have not been able to complete their investigations due mainly to the Indonesian military's refusal to cooperate and its tampering of evidence.
The evasions and obstructions of the Indonesian military are wholly unacceptable, and it is incumbent upon this Congress to see that a thorough investigation is conducted. The victims of this brutal attack deserve no less. My amendment is, therefore, intended to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime against Americans are brought to justice. To the extent that the Indonesian military was involved, the United States should insist on criminal prosecution of all involved parties.
My amendment would limit Indonesia from receiving International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds until the President certifies to Congress that the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed Forces are taking effective measures, including cooperating with the Director of the FBI, in conducting a full investigation of the attack and to criminally prosecute the individuals responsible for the attack.
My amendment will not prohibit the United States from continuing to conduct programs or training with the Indonesian Armed Forces, including counter-terrorism training, officer visits, port visits, or educational exchanges that are being conducted on the date of enactment it would prevent future exchanges.
Mr. Chairman, this amendment is important. It gives voice to our commitment that the United States will hold accountable the perpetrators and protectors of terrorism. We will exhaust every means to protect our citizens. We will pursue terrorists wherever they may be and hold to account. We will demand justice for attacks against our citizens and withhold aid from thosecountries that do not cooperate in bringing terrorists to justice. As President Bush has stated, "if you are not with us you are against us." It is time for Indonesia to choose who it will align itself with, the terrorists or the coalition of nations that bring them to justice.
Make no mistake, a vote against this amendment is a vote against holding nations accountable for terrorist attacks.