U.S. House of Representatives Reiterates "No IMET for Indonesia" U.S. House of Representatives Reiterates "No IMET for Indonesia"
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Media Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: John M. Miller, ETAN, 718-596-7668
Kurt Biddle, IHRN, 510-559-7762

For Immediate Release

U.S. House of Representatives Reiterates "No IMET for Indonesia"

July 24 - For the second time in a week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to bar Indonesia from receiving military training via the prestigious IMET program.

Late last night, the House voted to strip a $600,000 appropriation for International Military Education and Training (IMET) for fiscal year (FY) 2004. The amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill comes as the Bush administration has indicated its intention to use a controversial FY03 $400,000 appropriation for IMET for Indonesia. Bush administration has indicated its intention to use a controversial FY03 $400,000 appropriation for IMET for Indonesia.

"The administration should not defy Congressional intent to bar the Indonesian military from IMET," said Kurt Biddle of the Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN).

“Instead of considering assistance for the Indonesian military, the administration should take concrete action against it for its massive human rights violations in Aceh – including the use of U.S.-supplied weapons, its widespread impunity for crimes against humanity in East Timor, and its general trampling on the rights of Indonesian, East Timorese, and U.S. citizens,” said Karen Orenstein of the East Timor Action Network (ETAN).

On July 16, the House passed an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY04-05 (H.R. 1950) barring Indonesia from receiving IMET until the President certifies that Indonesia is "taking effective measures" to fully investigate and criminally prosecute those responsible for the August 31, 2002 attack on in Timika, Papua near the mining operations area of the Louisiana-headquartered Freeport-McMoRan. The ambush killed three school teachers -- Rick Spier from Colorado, Ted Burgon of Oregon and an Indonesian, Bambang Riwanto -- and injured 11 others, including a six-year child. Indonesian police and NGO investigations have strongly implicated the Indonesian military (TNI) in the attack.

Representative Joel Hefley (R-CO) sponsored both amendments. Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and Greg Walden (R-OR) spoke in favor of yesterday’s amendment.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed its own ban on IMET for Indonesia for FY04 last May.

Legislative rules limited last night’s amendment to a $600,000 reduction of the entire FY04 IMET appropriation. However, the legislative history established during debate makes clear the provision’s intent to cut all funding for IMET for Indonesia for FY04.

The appropriations bill also continues a ban on U.S. government financed sales of military equipment to Indonesia under the Foreign Military Financing Program.

ETAN advocates for democracy, sustainable development, justice and human rights, including women's rights, for the people of East Timor. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes against humanity that took place in East Timor since 1975. (www.etan.org)

IHRN is a U.S.-based grassroots organization working to educate and activate the American public and influence U.S. foreign policy and international economic interests to support democracy, demilitarization, and justice through accountability and rule of law in Indonesia. IHRN works with and advocates on behalf of people throughout the Indonesian archipelago to strengthen civil society. (www.indonesianetwork.org)


see also U.S. House Foreign Ops. Bill and Report Language on E Timor and Indonesia

see also U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance

Congressman Joel Hefley (R-CO)
2230 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515


Contact Sarah Shelden


(Washington, D.C. - July 24, 2003) U.S. Representative Joel Hefley (R-CO) yesterday stripped from the fiscal year 2004 Foreign Operations appropriations bill a $600,000 appropriation for International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds designated for the Government of Indonesia. Hefley introduced the amendment to signal his discontent with the Indonesian government's progress on an investigation into an August 2002 terrorist attack that left two Americans dead and eight critically wounded.

Yesterday's amendment is tied to Hefley's July 16 amendment, which he successfully added to the fiscal years 2004 and 2005 Foreign Relations Authorization bill, to prevent Indonesia from receiving IMET funds until the President and Congress conclude that Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed Forces are conducting a full investigation of the attack and criminally prosecuting the perpetrators.

"The victims of this attack and their families deserve a thorough investigation by the Indonesian and U.S. governments," said Hefley. "It is not too much to demand answers about who orchestrated and carried out this ambush and see the perpetrators brought to justice. Until the Indonesian government cooperates with U.S. investigators and provides credible and honest answers about the attack, the U.S. will withhold all IMET funds."

Littleton, Colorado resident Patsy Spier, who was a victim of the attack and whose husband was killed, approached Hefley about seeking support for a thorough investigation. The attack occurred as two vehicles carrying teachers from the Tembagapura International School were driving in Papua, Indonesia on August 31, 2002. The ambush killed Coloradan Rick Spier, Oregonian Ted Burgon and an Indonesian man and injured eight others, including a six-year child.

An investigation of the attack by the Indonesian Police concluded that "there is a strong possibility that the Tembagapura case was perpetrated by members of the Indonesian National Army Force...." In November 2002, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that U.S. intelligence agencies had "intercepted messages between Indonesian army commanders indicating that they were involved in staging an ambush at the remote mine in which three school teachers, two of them Americans, were killed...."

Despite this intelligence, the investigation of the attack has faltered. The Indonesian military has assumed responsibility for the investigation and has exonerated itself from wrongdoing. American investigative teams have attempted to conduct their own investigation, but have been prevented from fully examining the evidence.



IMET Floor Debate


Funds Appropriated to the President


For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of section 541 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, $91,700,000, of which up to $3,000,000 may remain available until expended: Provided, That the civilian personnel for whom military education and training may be provided under this heading may include civilians who are not members of a government whose participation would contribute to improved civil-military relations, civilian control of the military, or respect for human rights: Provided further, That funds appropriated under this heading for military education and training for Guatemala may only be available for expanded international military education and training and funds made available for Nigeria and Guatemala may only be provided through the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.


Mr. HEFLEY.  Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Hefley:

Page 40, line 24, after the first dollar amount insert the following: ``(reduced by $600,000)''.

Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Chairman, my amendment is intended to cut $600,000 out of the IMET account to prevent Indonesia from receiving IMET funding in fiscal year 2004.

As many of my colleagues may remember, last week I offered an amendment to the Foreign Service Reauthorization Act of 2004 and 2005 that would limit Indonesia's participation in the IMET program. It passed overwhelmingly here. In fact, it passed overwhelmingly in the other body and everywhere it has been offered. My amendment would limit Indonesia from receiving International Military Education and Training funds until the President certifies to Congress, and not do away with it entirely, it just says until the President certifies to Congress that the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian armed forces are taking effective measures, including cooperating with the director of the FBI, in conducting a full investigation of the attack and to criminally prosecute the individuals responsible for the attack.

What attack am I talking about? My colleagues may or may not remember, for those Members who are not aware, on August 31, 2002, the staff of the International School of West Papua, Indonesia, decided to go on a picnic, a Sunday afternoon picnic. The teachers lived and worked in Tembagapura, a company town located high in the mountains near the Grasberg gold and copper mine. The group of 11 people, including a 6-year-old child, drove in two vehicles to a picnic site about 10 miles away on the road to Timika. Because it began to rain, they decided to return to town for lunch.

The road they were traveling on now is not an ordinary road. The road is surrounded by the gold and copper mine and is heavily guarded by the Indonesian military; and in fact, at both ends of this mountain road are military checkpoints which seal the road and control access to Tembagapura.

As they returned home, the group was brutally attacked by a band of terrorists. Two Americans and an Indonesian were killed in the ambush. The attack, which occurred less than a half mile away from an Indonesian military checkpoint, went on, and listen to me with this because it is astounding to me. This attack was a half mile from a military checkpoint, and it went on for

[Page: H7413]

45 minutes, with no one doing anything to stop it. Hundreds of rounds were fired at the teachers and at their vehicles. Most of the survivors, including the 6-year-old child, were shot. Several of the teachers were shot multiple times and suffered horrible injuries; and Mr. Chairman, I could go on and on about this, but in the interests of time and in deference to the chairman, let me just say that every indication in our investigation so far by the CIA, the FBI, and even the Indonesian police forces indicate that the military was responsible for this attack.

But after all these months, we are getting little or no cooperation in the investigation. That is what we want to get to the bottom of. We want to find out who did this and bring these killers to justice.

Mr. Chairman, I would encourage support of this amendment. I would hope that my colleagues would accept this amendment.

Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment.

I applaud the gentleman for offering this amendment and for giving us the opportunity to have an open discussion about recent events in Indonesia. Last August, two U.S. citizens and one Indonesian were killed in an ambush in Papua, Indonesia, and eight other Americans were wounded. This incident took place in an area under the nominal control of an American company and the victims were their employees.

While the Indonesian military has sought to blame indigenous rebel movements for this act of terror, all signs point to the direct involvement of the Indonesian military. The FBI has been dispatched several times to assist in the investigation. The cooperation of the Indonesian military authorities has been sporadic at times and at times nonexistent.

The debate on whether to allow military training for Indonesia has gone on for over 10 years now. Last year, over my objections, Congress allowed for the resumption of full IMET training for the first time since 1992. Let us examine the Indonesians' response to this action:

One, continued lack of cooperation with the FBI investigation into the killings in Papua;

Two, an active media campaign to discredit the FBI's initial conclusions that the Indonesian military was most likely involved in this incident;

Three, a horrific military crack down in Aceh which has resulted in hundreds of civilians killed, executions, rape, numerous schools burned, and thousands forced into military camps;

The shutting out of foreign journalists and human rights organizations from Aceh;

A similar campaign in Papua, targeting mostly Christian and Melanesian populations;

A continuing mockery of justice in cases involving the abuses in East Timor in 1999;

And efforts by the Indonesian Army to slow or hinder U.S. anti-terrorism assistance for the Indonesian police.

In short, Indonesia has not shown any inclination to work more closely with us and to change policies which they know are objectionable. If anything, their behavior indicates that they have chosen to use this as an opportunity to defy the United States.

This amendment cuts $600,000 requested for Indonesian IMET and will send a strong signal to the Indonesians. Allowing unrestricted IMET demonstrates to the Indonesians that they cannot afford to ignore State Department and congressional calls for military reform, real cooperation in the war on terrorism and an end to violence and corruption.

I urge support of the Hefley amendment.

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Hefley amendment, which would cut all international military and education and training IMET funding for Indonesia. We in Congress ended IMET funding for Indonesia due to horrendous human rights abuses committed by Indonesia's military. Mr. Chairman, nothing has changed. Indonesia's military has continued to engage in horrific human rights violations against its own people, especially in Aceh and Papua, has obstructed the investigation of the death of two U.S. and one Indonesian citizen, and deliberately evaded accountability for crimes against humanity in East Timor.

Of great concern to me is Indonesia's failure to resolve and provide meaningful justice for the murder of two U.S. citizens and an Indonesian on the Freeport McMoRan mining road in Papua in August 2002. The TNI, which has been labeled as culpable for the crime by independent monitors, has threatened parties investigating the crime and has resisted cooperation with the FBI.

The Indonesian military has launched a major military offensive in Aceh, the largest since its 1975 invasion of East Timor, which within a few years resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. In early December 2002, the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement, GAM, signed a peace accord in Geneva called the Cessations of Hostilities Agreement. This agreement has since collapsed, and on May 19, 2003, the Indonesian government declared martial law in Aceh.

The TNI has since committed extrajudicial executions, it has committed torture, rape, and mass displacement of civilians. International humanitarian and human rights organizations, as well as foreign journalists, have been denied access to Aceh.

[Page: H7414]

Access for Indonesian journalists is severely restricted. Human rights monitors and defenders have been particularly targeted. TNI-sponsored militia thugs have attacked their offices. U.S. journalist William Nessen has been detained and faces a possible 5-year sentence for so-called visa violations. When Nessen originally tried to surrender to military forces they apparently shot at him.

Finally, the trial process of the Indonesian ad hoc Human Rights Court in East Timor has been a grave distortion of truth and an internationally recognized travesty of justice. As of now, the court has acquitted 12 and convicted 5, delivering light sentences. Four of the five are less than the legal minimum under Indonesian law, and those convicted remain free pending appeal.

To date, the Indonesian government has not provided the documentation, executed arrest warrants, or facilitated witness interviews as requested by the joint U.N.-East Timor Serious Crimes Unit. Senior level government official in Indonesia responded to an SCU indictment of high-level Indonesian security forces personnel for crimes against humanity for murder, deportation and persecution by publicly snubbing the indictments and openly threatening East Timor.

Congress has already provided significant carrots outside of the provision of IMET millions in counter-terrorism training for the TNI and the police, multilateral military exercises, and senior-level contacts despite these and other inexcusable actions by the Indonesian armed forces and government.

Resuming IMET funding this year will send the wrong signal and it will reward bad behavior. This Congress should vote ``yes'' on the Hefley amendment, and I urge my colleagues to strongly support the Hefley amendment, which would cut all international military and education training funding for Indonesia.

Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words, and I rise today to express my strong support for the amendment offered by the gentleman from Colorado, which is designed to force the government of Indonesia to do what until now it has utterly failed to do, bring to justice the murderers who killed two American citizens and wounded eight others in Papua, Indonesia, in August of 2002.

Among the victims of that tragic attack were Ted Burgon of Sun River, Oregon, in my district, and Rick Spier of Colorado, both of whom lost their lives. Ted's wife Nancy was wounded in the ambush, as were Ken Balk and Saundra Hopkins, also of Sun River, Oregon, and their young daughter. A number of other members of their party suffered injuries at the hands of the terrorists who perpetrated this cowardly attack.

Mr. Chairman, despite the time that has elapsed since the tragedy in Indonesia, the murderers of Burgon and Spier have not been brought to justice. Perhaps most disturbingly there seems to have been little effort on the part of the Indonesian government, which receives substantial aid from the people of the United States, to ensure that these killers are made to pay for their crimes. Indeed, strong evidence suggests that government officials have actively thwarted American investigations into the attack. This amendment is intended to correct this inequity.

Mr. Chairman, since the attack occurred, evidence has been brought to light suggesting that members of the Indonesian military, and not a rogue band of criminals, bears responsibility for the ambush. Following the attack, the Indonesian police conducted an inquiry and ultimately issued a report asserting that, and I quote, ``There is a strong possibility that the attack was perpetrated by members of the Indonesian National Army Force.'' Indeed, the attack occurred less than a half a mile away from the Indonesian military checkpoints. Moreover, various news services have reported that U.S. intelligence agencies have intercepted messages between Indonesian military officials implicating army personnel in the attack.

Mr. Chairman, from the beginning, Indonesian authorities have been less than cooperative in assisting the FBI investigations into the murders. Investigative agents were denied the opportunity to interview witnesses without Indonesian authorities present and were not permitted to bring forensic evidence back to the United States for analysis.

It is my firm belief that if prosecuting the murderers of American citizens on Indonesian soil is not a priority for the government of Indonesia, they should not expect to receive assistance from the people of the United States. My colleague's amendment would prevent Indonesia from receiving international military education and training funds until the President certifies to the Congress that the Indonesian government and the Indonesian military are cooperating with American authorities in their investigation into the attack.

Given the strong possibility that members of the Indonesian military were involved in the ambush, it would be an affront to the memory of Ted Burgon and Rick Spier, as well as the grieving families they left behind, to continue providing funding to the Indonesian armed forces. So I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, many statements have been made on the floor about this amendment. Unfortunately, very little of them have been accurate. Let me read the amendment, since it is less than two full lines. ``Page 40, line 24. After the first dollar amount insert the following (reduce by $600,000).''

Mr. Chairman, this does not reduce the funding for Indonesia. It would take only $600,000 out of the international military education and training account. It is a cut to the general appropriations account. And it is correctly drafted this way, because to put other kinds of restrictions in it would not have been in order.

So I want to make it very clear to my colleagues that this is not an amendment which in any way directly affects Indonesia at all. The language that has been stated here on the floor might, but the amendment itself has no impact itself on Indonesia.

As to the issue of the tragic killing of U.S. citizens in Indonesia, our report in fact does deal with this on page 46 where we outline in some considerable detail the problems and make note with this sentence, Mr. Chairman: ``Most disturbing, the committee understands that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has not found Indonesian officials to be particularly cooperative.'' So we have made note of this. We are very concerned about it.

But certainly attacking IMET as the way to get at this would be the absolute contrary way to do so. IMET is about exposing foreign military officers and enlisted personnel to civilian control, to respect for human rights, to the rule of law. It is, as its very title suggests, about education and training. And as we know from the programs that exist, human rights and civil rights, respect for human rights and respect for civil rights is a very major component of this training. If you want to reform the Indonesian military, then cutting off IMET is exactly the opposite of what one ought to do. At some point we ought to be increasing IMET for Indonesia, and perhaps indeed that is what may happen.

But I would also note, before I close, that our legislation does not permit or does not provide for any foreign military sales to Indonesia, and so that is specifically prohibited. But I am happy that this amendment does not in any way affect the IMET funding specifically for Indonesia. It represents what is less than a six-tenths of 1 percent cut in the total amount. And while I am a strong supporter of IMET, because I believe that it does exactly what we want to do, and we have adequate proof of this around the world, that it exposes military officers in other countries to human rights, to civil rights, to the values that we believe are important in this country, and because of that I strongly support it, but I am not prepared at this hour of the evening to quibble about what is less than a six-tenths of 1 percent cut in this funding.

And so, Mr. Chairman, I am prepared to accept the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Hefley).

The amendment was agreed to.

see also U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance


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