Subject: AU: Letter on Kopassus
Letter in the The Australian

Institutionalised graft
20 December 2005
IT is disturbing to read that we will again be involved in training with the Indonesian special forces, Kopassus ("Licensed to kill", Features, 19/12). Have we learned nothing from the past activities of the Indonesian military? Kopassus has been notorious for its role in human rights abuses in East Timor and West Papua.
Many people may not realise that the Indonesian military receives only 30 per cent of its budget from the government and must raise the other 70 per cent itself. It should be obvious that such a situation would leave any institution open to corruption. A recent report, Genocide in West Papua?, by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, documents the Indonesian military's involvement in illegal activities including logging, rigged construction projects and theft of aid.
While such entrenched practices continue, it is unlikely that the professionalism of the Australian military will have any influence on the TNI.
Joe Collins
Mosman, NSW

see also: Background on Kopassus and Brimob (2008)

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