Subject: TNI seeking to sue American journalist

TNI seeking to sue American journalist

Friday, March 26, 2010 04:16 WIB | National

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Military (TNI) intends to sue an American journalist for tarnishing its image by stating its Special Force was involved in political murders in the runup to the 2009 general elections in Aceh.

"We have been coordinating with other relevant agencies such as the Foreign Ministry and even with the presidential spokesman for foreign affairs in looking into the possibility of filing a lawsuit against or issuing legal warning to Allan Nairn," TNI spokesman Air Commodore Sagom Tamboen said here on Thursday.

He said the article released by Nairn in his blog last March 21 had ruined not only the image of the Special Force (Kopassus) but also that of the TNI and the Indonesian nation.
He described as "totally unfounded and slanderous" Nairn`s article titled "Breaking News: Indonesian Army, Kopassus, Implicated in New Assassinations. Forces Chosen by Obama for Renewed US Aid Ran? 09 Activist Murders."

"So, while showing formal data and facts (to Nairn), the TNI is seeking to file a lawsuit against or issue legal warning to him for his unfounded article," he said.
Sagom said the TNI believed Nairn`s article would not affect ties between Indonesia and the United States particularly in the military and defense fields.

"They (the US) have a military representative here who can monitor what the TNI particularly Kopassus has done in reforming itself. So they also have received first-hand information from their representative in Indonesia," he said.

In his article, Nairn quoted a number of sources, including local administration officials, police, the wives of the alleged murder victims, Kopassus officers, to conclude that Kopassus was implicated in the murder of at least eight Aceh Party members.
Former Kopassus commander Major General Soenarko had dismissed allegations by the American journalist that the force was involved in political murders in the runup to the 2009 general elections in Aceh.

"There had been no Kopassus presence, either open or covert, in Aceh since 2004 so how could any member of the force have been involved in any activity, including 2009 general election activity, there," said Soenarko, who in 2009 headed the Aceh regional military command.

In a statement to ANTARA on Tuesday, Soenarko admitted that political life in Aceh prior to and during the 2009 legislative election in Aceh was marked by great dynamism.

He as Aceh military command chief actively helped the provincial police to ensure security and order during the local polls "but not a single Kopassus member was there, much less was any element of the force involved in practical politics there." (*)

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