U.S. Senate Bans Military Training for Indonesia,
Defies Administration Over Lack of Progress in Prosecuting Killers of
For Immediate Release
Contact: John M. Miller, 718-596-7668
Karen Orenstein, 202-544-6911
October 29, 2003 - Expressing strong dissatisfaction with the lack
of progress in investigating the killing of two U.S. citizens in
Indonesia, the U.S. Senate yesterday agreed unanimously to ban
International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Indonesia.
The Senate passed two provisions addressing IMET in the Foreign
Operations Appropriations bill. One amendment, sponsored by Sen.
Wayne Allard (R-CO), bans regular IMET. The second, by Senator Russ
Feingold (D-WI), states that any “normalization” of the
U.S.-Indonesia military cannot begin until there is “full
cooperation” with the FBI in its investigation into the August 31,
2002, ambush which killed three and wounded 11 Americans and
Indonesians in Timika, Indonesia, and until those individuals
responsible for the murders are brought to justice.
Senator Allard cited the Timika killings as the main motivation for
The Feingold amendment further stated that
“respect of the Indonesia military for human rights and the
improvement in relations between the military and civilian
population are extremely important for the future of relations
between the United States and Indonesia.”
In an interview
prior to his recent visit to Indonesia, President Bush stated that
“Congress has changed their attitude” and was ready to provide
further military assistance “because of the cooperation of the
government on the killings of two U.S. citizens.”
“Clearly, President Bush was wrong. Congress remains deeply
disturbed by the lack of progress in these terrorist killings in
Papua," said Karen Orenstein, Washington Coordinator of the East
Timor Action Network. “The U.S. has a national interest in a
democratic Indonesia, which respects human rights and holds
violators accountable. History shows that providing prestigious U.S.
military training to Indonesia has never brought that goal closer."
In two votes last July, the
Representatives also agreed unanimously to restrict IMET for
Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a similar provision
While praising these actions, ETAN urged Congress to expand the
conditions on resumption of IMET.
“Many past Congressional conditions, including accountability for
rights violations in East Timor and Indonesia and transparency in
the military budget, have never been met,” said Orenstein. "Now, a
massive military assault is being perpetrated against the people of
Aceh - replete with extra-judicial executions, torture, rape and
displacement - utilizing U.S.-supplied weapons. All assistance to
the Indonesian military must be terminated, including
Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO)
co-sponsored the Allard amendment Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patrick
Leahy (D-VT), and Campbell co-sponsored the Feingold amendment.
The House and Senate versions of the Foreign Operations
Appropriations bill would both continue to ban foreign military
financing for Indonesia. Conferees from both chambers of Congress
must meet to reconcile any differences between their versions of the
appropriations bill before final passage.
Indonesian police and non-governmental organization investigations
have strongly implicated the TNI for the murder of two U.S. citizens
and one Indonesian in Papua on August 31, 2002. Eight U.S. citizens,
including a six-year-old child, and three Indonesians were seriously
wounded in the ambush in the mining operations area of the
Louisiana-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, Inc. The U.S.
embassy in Jakarta called the ambush “a terrorist attack.”
Congress first voted to restrict IMET military training for
Indonesia, which brings foreign military officers to the U.S. for
training, in response to the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor.
All military ties were severed in September 1999 as the Indonesian
military and its militia proxies razed East Timor following its
pro-independence vote. Congress first passed the "Leahy conditions"
on IMET and other military assistance in late 1999. Congress
originally approved $400,000 for IMET in FY03 but Indonesia's
participation in the program was ultimately limited to Expanded
IMET. On July 24, the House voted to strip a $600,000 appropriation
for International Military Education and Training (IMET) intended
for Indonesia for FY04. In May, the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee unanimously approved reinstating the ban on IMET for
Indonesia. The Allard amendment bans regular IMET unless the
president “determines important national security interests” justify
advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East Timor and
Indonesia. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to prosecute
crimes against humanity that took place in East Timor since 1975 and
continued restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia
until there is genuine reform of its security forces.
Military Assistance page
Senator Wayne Allard
Foreign Ops. Approps.
October, 28 2003
I would like to call up amendment #1995. This amendment,
co-sponsored by Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR), would prohibit
International Military Education Training funds for Indonesia. It
also gives the President the authority to waive this prohibition for
national security reasons. Let me explain why it is important for
the Senate to consider and approve this amendment.
Nearly fifteen months ago on August 31, 2002, ten Americans
living in Indonesia were brutally attacked less than 6 miles from
their homes. Hundreds of rounds of ammunition were fired at them for
45 minutes, leaving two Americans dead and most of the other
survivors nursing multiple bullet wounds.
I have had the opportunity to meet with one of the survivors of
this horrible tragedy, Mrs. Patsy Spiers (SPEARS), who, along with
her husband Rick, was shot multiple times. While Patsy was fortunate
enough to survive this ordeal, her husband was not. In January, Mrs.
Spiers was brave enough to sit down with me and walk through her
painful experience. The next day I contacted President Bush urging
him to press the Indonesian government to conduct a comprehensive
investigation into the attack.
Immediately after the ambush, an investigation into the ambush
was conducted by the Indonesian civil police. The police report
implicated the Indonesian military in the attack, but indicated that
further investigation into the ambush needed to be done. Shortly
after the police report was filed, the Indonesian military
exonerated themselves from the attack.
Only after diplomatic pressure from the United States did the
Indonesian government decide to continue the investigation into the
ambush. The Indonesian government also promised to permit the full
participation of the FBI. Despite visiting the country multiple
times, the FBI has not received the cooperation it needs to
determine who was responsible for these brutal murders.
At this juncture, there are indications that Indonesian military
may have had some involvement in this attack. Yet, despite these
continued allegations and lack of cooperation, the Indonesian
government and its military still receives U.S. assistance through
the International Military Education Training fund. I believe that
until a full and open investigation has been completed and those
responsible are prosecuted, IMET funding for the Indonesians should
Since my face-to-face meeting with Mrs. Spiers (SPEARS), I have
continued to work with the Administration, FBI investigators, and
colleagues here in the Senate with two distinct goals in mind. The
first is to deny the release of funds until the Indonesians have
completed the investigation into these murders. The second goal is
to ensure that an impartial investigation, with help from the FBI,
is conducted into the brutal attack so that those responsible will
be brought to justice.
In no way should the United States government provide military
assistance to Indonesia until this matter is resolved. What kind of
message will we be sending to other governments if we provide this
assistance without first determining who was responsible? Just as
important, what kind of message do we send to the families of Ted
Burgon (BER-GONE) and Rick Spiers (SPEARS) who were murdered in the
ambush if we continue this military assistance. Are not the lives of
American citizens more important than this military assistance?
I fear that by our inaction we send the wrong message to the
world. What kind of precedent will be set for other Americans who
travel overseas? We cannot allow the murder of our citizens to be
ignored and the Indonesian government should not let those
responsible go unpunished.
Mr. President, I appreciate the efforts by the manager of this
bill and his staff for their assistance on this amendment. It is my
hope that we can quickly resolve any concerns with my amendment so
it can be accepted. These American families deserve a resolution and
Thank you Mr. President. I look forward to working with the
chairman and ranking member on getting agreement on my amendment.