Subject: US Arrests Reveal Chaos of RI Arms Procurement: Analysts [+Guardian]

4 reports:

- JP: Arms procurement still chaotic: Analysts, politicians

- Accused on Guam agrees to face charges in Maryland

- World has unique chance to curb arms trade - report

- The Guardian: Arms sales record as firms duck controls with 'flat-pack' weapons

Arms procurement still chaotic: Analysts, politicians

Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Last week's arrest of four Indonesians in the U.S. reveals the chaos in arms procurement, involving both partners of the Indonesian Military (TNI) and its current and retired officers, analysts and politicians said Monday.

They called on the government to follow official procedures and uphold the principle of accountability in arms procurement.

Four Indonesians and their two foreign counterparts have been charged with conspiring to illegally ship arms worth US$900,000 to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas as well as customers in Indonesia.

Along with their associates from Singapore and Sri Lanka, the four Indonesians identified as Erick Wotulo, 60, Subandi, 69, Reinhard Rusli, 34, and Helmi Soedirdja, 33, were caught allegedly doing a transaction with American undercover agents. Erick has been identified as a retired admiral in the Indonesian Navy, but the TNI has denied any link to him.

The suspects have been charged with conspiring to ship technically advanced night vision goggles to Indonesia without the necessary approval from the Defense Ministry. They are also accused of money laundering.

Andi Widjayanto, a military analyst from the University of Indonesia, said Indonesia had laws governing arms procurement, but the process remained chaotic, often involving unauthorized military officers and former officers.

Earlier this year, several Indonesians were arrested in the U.S. for attempting to buy arms through a third party.

"Two 2006 ministerial decrees mean the TNI Headquarters, Army, Air Force and Navy are no longer allowed to buy their own arms and other military equipment," he told The Jakarta Post.

The 2004 law on military stipulates that arms procurement is the authority of the Defense Ministry, for reasons of accountability and efficiency.

Effendi Choirie, a member of the Defense Commission at the House of Representatives, called on U.S. authorities to thoroughly investigate why the four Indonesians were buying the night vision goggles and other military equipment.

Andi and Effendi said arms procurement is a lucrative business.

They alleged the four Indonesians were in fact the military's partners, and that they knew well what TNI needed for a particular fiscal year.

"Apparently, they did not know that following the lifting of the military embargo by the U.S. Congress late in 2005, arms should be purchased on government to government basis," said Andi.

Indria Samego, a military analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, said the latest incident showed that the military was resisting reform.

"The President and Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono should be tough on arms purchasing and bring military officers to court for getting involved in the illegal arms trade," he said.

Djoko Susilo, a member of the House's defense commission, said the House should tighten its supervision of arms purchases by the government. "We have to make sure that every purchase follows the legal procedure."


Accused on Guam agrees to face charges in Maryland

HAGATNA, Guam, October 3 (AP) - One of six men arrested in two international weapons smuggling cases on Guam agreed Monday to face a federal indictment in Maryland on firearms, terrorism and money laundering charges.

Haniffa Bin Osman, 55, of Singapore, waived his right to an identity hearing on Guam, according to a report in the Pacific Daily News. That cleared the way for U.S. Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan to sign a removal order that would send Osman to Maryland.

One of the suspects, Indonesian Haji Subandi, 69, was allegedly instrumental in two conspiracies -- one involving smuggling of weapons to the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka and the other involving arms for the Indonesian military.

Another suspect, Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, 36, of Sri Lanka -- who is accused of conspiring with Subandi, Osman and Erick Wotulo, 60, to send arms to the Tamil Tiger rebels of Sri Lanka -- was assigned an attorney to represent him in a hearing set for Friday.

They each face up to 40 years in prison, if convicted on all charges.

The six, all scheduled to appear in court this week, were arrested last week in the two separate cases. They were accused in federal indictments of trying to buy missiles and other weapons through undercover agents in a Maryland sting operation.

The men had met to examine 3.5 tons of weapons in transit through the U.S. territory, including Stinger missiles, grenade launchers, submachine guns, sniper rifles and night-vision devices.

The others arrested are Indonesian citizens Reinhard Rusli, 34, and Helmi Soedirdja, 33, accused along with Subandi of trying to smuggle night-vision goggles and other items from the United States to Indonesia. They each face five-year prison terms, if convicted.


World has unique chance to curb arms trade - report

By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON, October 2 (Reuters) - The world has a unique chance starting on Monday to begin to curb the trade in guns and military hardware that kills at least 300,000 people each year and ruins the lives of millions more, campaigners said.

Exploiting legal loopholes and unscrupulous dealers, deadly weapons are finding their way from legal manufacturers to countries like Sudan, Indonesia and Uganda which are subject to international arms embargoes, Control Arms said.

The group -- consisting of Amnesty International, Oxfam and the International Action Network on Small Arms -- called for the First Committee of the UN General Assembly which begins meeting on Monday to start the process for a binding Arms Trade Treaty.

To support its call, the group issued a report called Arms Without Borders, highlighting the size and scope of the global arms trade and citing numerous examples of current flaws.

"This report reveals a litany of loopholes and destroyed lives. Arms companies are global yet arms regulations are not, and the result is the arming of abusive regimes," said Oxfam International director Jeremy Hobbs.

The report noted that so global was the arms business that few weapons systems were now sourced from any single country, with components or construction regularly outsourced.

This made it relatively easy for manufacturers and arms traders to circumvent national restrictions on supply to sensitive destinations, the report said.

One example it cited was the use by Uzbek security forces in May 2005 of landrovers to fire on and kill hundreds of protestors in the town of Andizhan.

Some 70 percent of components in these vehicles had been supplied by the UK-based Land Rover company to Turkey where they were then assembled before being gifted to Uzbekistan.

In another instance, the report said Austrian pistol-maker Glock planned to set up production in Brazil where it would not be subject to European Union controls.

And the value of the business is gigantic and growing, estimated to be worth more than $1,000 billion this year -- or 15 times annual international aid spending, the report said.

While the big five arms exporters -- Russia, United States, France, Germany and Britain -- still dominated the trade, with China an unknown quantity but rising fast, India, South Africa and South Korea were all increasingly active, the report said.

Elsewhere, some 92 countries now manufacture small arms and light weapons, while 76 make small arms and ammunition -- with enough bullets in the world to shoot every one of the six billion inhabitants twice.

A survey of Baghdad's black market earlier this year found ammunition from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia and Serbia, the report said.

The Control Arms coalition said that while there were some agreements on arms control, they were political. What was vital was a legally binding international treaty.

This, it said, would not prevent legal and responsible arms production and trade, but it could -- if properly drafted and implemented -- stop the weaponry getting onto the hands of despots and human rights abusers.


The Guardian (UK) Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Arms sales record as firms duck controls with 'flat-pack' weapons

Spending to surpass cold war heights, says report; Shipping components avoid embargoes and bans

Richard Norton-Taylor

Worldwide spending on weapons is expected to reach record levels this year at a time when the arms industry is increasingly able to avoid export controls, human rights and aid agencies say in a report published yesterday.

By the end of the year, military spending is estimated to reach $1,058bn (£561bn), about 15 times the amount spent on international aid, say Amnesty, Oxfam, and the International Action Network on Small Arms (Iansa).

The figure is higher than the cold war record reached in 1987-88 of $1,034bn in today's prices, they claim, adding that last year the US, Russia, Britain, France and Germany accounted for an estimated 82% of all arms transfers.

Other countries are emerging as major exporters. Brazil, India, Israel, Singapore, South Africa, and South Korea have arms firms in the top 100, Amnesty says.

In their report, Arms without Borders, the agencies claim US, EU, and Canadian companies can get round arms regulations by selling weapon components and subcontracting arms manufacturing to companies overseas. Weapons, including attack helicopters and combat trucks, are being assembled from foreign components and manufactured under licence in countries including China, Egypt, India, Israel and Turkey.

The report shows how these or similar weapons have ended up in Colombia, Sudan and Uzbekistan where they are reported to have been used against civilians.

The report says that the EU has an arms embargo against China, and the US and Canada have banned the sale of armed helicopters to Beijing. Yet China's new Z-10 attack helicopter would not fly without weapons parts and technology from Anglo-Italian company (Augusta Westland), the Canadian firm Pratt & Whitney Canada) a US company (Lord Corporation) and a Franco-German company (Eurocopter), it says. There is no suggestion any of the companies are breaking the law.

The report points out that China has previously sold attack helicopters to a number of countries including Sudan, which is under a full EU arms embargo.

The Apache helicopter, used by Israel in the Lebanon conflict, is made from 6,000 parts manufactured worldwide, including the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland. Under the EU's code of conduct, those countries should refuse to export attack helicopters directly to Israel, the agencies argue in their report.

Last year, Uzbek security forces fired on demonstrators, killing hundreds. The Uzbek army used military Land Rovers. Around 70% of their parts were British. They were sent "flat pack" to Turkey, where they were made into military vehicles. The vehicles were then supplied to the Uzbek government.

The report says the government had no control over the Land Rover deal because the vehicles were not converted into military vehicles in Britain. Again there is no suggestion the company broke any law.

The UN has just opened its annual session on arms control. The general assembly is to vote on a British-backed proposal for an arms trade treaty. Human rights groups say the treaty should impose export controls on components of weapons systems as well as complete weapons. Controls should also cover foreign licensing agreements, they say.

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service

Back to October menu 
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu