rev. Feb 2006
East Timor & Indonesia ACTION Network ALERT
Protest Bush’s Unlimited Military "Aid" to Indonesia
BETRAYS MILITARY’S VICTIMS AND END-RUNS CONGRESS
In a surprising and appalling move, the
waived all restrictions on U.S. military assistance for Indonesia
last November, only two days after the restrictions became law. For the
first time in over a decade, the Indonesian military is now eligible to
receive Pentagon weapons and training without any specific human rights
or other conditions.
In early November, ETAN and its allies won a clear victory in
Congress. Senators and Representatives voted to maintain a ban on
foreign military financing and the export of lethal weapons to Indonesia
despite unprecedented pressure from the State Department and Pentagon.
Congress sent a strong message to Indonesia's government and security
forces that it expected real improvements in military reform, human
rights protections, and accountability for crimes against humanity and
other serious crimes. The State Department, exploiting a national
security waiver, undermined that message in every respect and undermined
U.S. support for an above-the-law, unreformed military is not in the
national interest of the United States, Indonesia, or Timor-Leste (East
We must vigorously protest the Bush administration's deceptive
action. Here are actions YOU can take:
1. Call Secretary Rice today. Tell her:
- you are appalled that the State
Department recklessly waived newly-legislated restrictions on
military assistance for Indonesia.
- U.S. support for an unaccountable,
unreformed military is not in the best interest of the United States
or any other country. Rather, it undermines democracy and human
rights protections and is an affront to Congress.
- she should retract the national
Call the State Department at 202-647-6575 to leave a message for
Secretary Rice or send a message via http://tinyurl.com/ds5cr.
2. If you can make a second call, phone Assistant Secretary for East
Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill with the same message. He can
be reached at 202-647-9596.
3. Write a letter to the editor to your local newspaper, often the
most widely-read section. See below for a few
sample letters to adapt as your own. Email John M. Miller at email@example.com
or call 718-596-7668 if you'd like some help with your letter.
Meet with your Representative and Senators. In-person meetings
are the most effective way to get your message across to your
elected leaders. For help in setting up and preparing for
meetings, feel free to contact Karen Orenstein at 202- 544-6911
We cannot let the Bush administration get away with this! Please call
Secretary Rice and Assistant Secretary Hill today. And please let us
know the results of your efforts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your actions make
a world of difference. Thank you!
For more background, see
Sample Letter #1
Unrestricted military assistance for Indonesia betrays the hundreds
of thousands of victims of that military's brutality in Indonesia and
East Timor. Such aid only encourages Indonesia's unreformed military to
remain beyond the law. This is not in the interest of the people of the
United States or Indonesia.
Indonesia's democratic reforms have occurred in spite of its
military. Secretary of State Rice and President Bush, by waiving
congressional restrictions on weapons sales, have undermined U.S.
efforts to encourage further reform. With the stroke of a pen, the
administration gave away its leverage to press for accountability for
crimes against humanity in East Timor and elsewhere and has shown that
its declared commitment to human rights protections in Indonesia is
Congress must vigorously protest Secretary Rice's abuse of
discretion. The public and the media should pay close attention to the
impact of any engagement with this terribly abusive military.
Sample Letter #2
The Bush administration recently waived all restrictions on military
assistance to Indonesia just as the report of East Timor’s truth
commission was being readied for release. The report describes the
devastating impact of Indonesia’s invasion and occupation of East Timor.
Immediately prior to the 1975 invasion, President Ford and his Secretary
of State Henry Kissinger gave then-dictator Suharto the green light to
attack East Timor with U.S.-supplied weapons. Many tens of thousands of
civilians died as a direct result.
No senior military or political official has been held accountable
for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed under Jakarta’s
rule. The Bush administration has not learned from past policy. Under
the guise of national security, Secretary of State Rice's November
decision overriding Congress only two days after it enacted military
restrictions to allow unrestricted U.S. assistance to the Indonesian
military for the first time in over a decade was unwise and will
sanction this cycle of impunity.
Secretary Rice should retract the wavier and back an international
tribunal on East Timor. Genuine justice and human rights protections are
in the national interest. Propping up Indonesia’s unreformed and
unaccountable military is not.