Rights Group Rejects Added Aid for Indonesian Military
ETAN Responds to Bush Administration’s Waiver Justification
For Immediate Release
Contact: John M. Miller, 718-596-7668; 917-690-4391 (cell)
Karen Orenstein, 202-544-6911
February 27, 2006 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action
Network (ETAN) today urged Congress to reject the Bush
administration's request for increased Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
funds for Indonesia. The group said Congress should “zero out” the
greater than six-fold increase and re-impose conditions on military
assistance to Indonesia. The request is part of the administration's
proposed budget for 2007.
"Arming the military is not the way to promote democracy and
human rights in Indonesia," said Karen Orenstein, National
Coordinator of ETAN. "Congress should zero out the Bush
administration's unwarranted gift to Indonesia's unreformed
"Last November, the Secretary of State recklessly
restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia,
abandoning the best U.S. leverage to press for genuine reform,"
continued Orenstein. "Congress should reject this loophole as it
considers the 2007 appropriations bill."
ETAN today published a detailed analysis of the administration's
arguments for enacting the waiver, as contained in a Memorandum of
Justification produced by the State Department (see
"The State Department's memo is full of misleading and irrelevant
arguments. It fails to make the case that the waiver is in the
‘national security interest’ of the U.S., as required by law," said
Orenstein. "The waiver undeniably undermines efforts to promote
justice for human rights crimes in East Timor and real reform in
The memo pledges that, “…the quality and quantity of our
assistance will continue to be guided by progress on democratic
reform and accountability, and carefully calibrated to promote these
However, no specific “calibrated” benchmarks against which such
“progress” is to be measured are included in the memo. “State
Department officials have indicated that no such benchmarks had been
prepared, nor were any envisioned. The Congressional conditions that
were waived did provide benchmarks,” according to
“How does a large increase in funding for the Indonesian military
represent a ‘carefully calibrated’ response to progress in reform?
Impunity for serious human rights violations, including crimes
against humanity, still reins supreme in Indonesia. The situation on
the ground hasn’t changed since the November waiver,” said
FMF provides grants and loans to governments to buy U.S. military
weapons, equipment, services, and training.
In FY06, the administration plans to spend an estimated $990,000
in FMF funds. For FY07, the administration has asked for $6.5
million. Proposed spending on IMET, a military training program,
would grow from nearly $800,000 to $1.285 million.
In 2005, the administration chose to restart multiple military
programs for Indonesia. Full IMET for Indonesia resumed for the
first time since 1992. Last May, the administration resumed
non-lethal Foreign Military Sales. Extensive counter-terrorism
programs, in place for several years, continued to expand. The U.S.
government has provided tens of millions of dollars for the
Indonesian police, and the military receives the greatest share of
the Pentagon's Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program.
On November 22, only two days after the FY 2006 Foreign
Operations Appropriations Act became law, the
Department waived conditions restricting FMF and defense exports to
Indonesia. Military assistance to Indonesia is now available
without Congressional restrictions for that country for the first
time in more than a decade.
conditions abandoned by the administration include prosecution
of those responsible for human rights violations in East Timor and
elsewhere and implementation of reforms to enhance civilian control
of the Indonesian military.
ETAN advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East
Timor and Indonesia. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to
prosecute crimes against humanity committed in East Timor from 1975
to 1999 and for restrictions on U.S. military assistance to
Indonesia until there is genuine reform of its security forces. For
additional background, see www.etan.org.