East Timor ACTION Network ALERT
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Bush Must Not Use
Tsunami to Strengthen Indonesian Military
Must Keep Restrictions on U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance
The Pentagon and the Indonesian government are using the tragic tsunami
that struck Aceh to call for U.S. support – including weapons and training
-- for Indonesia’s brutal military. While in Jakarta recently, Deputy
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said the two
countries should focus on building "newer US and Indonesian defence
Indonesia’s Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said “We look forward to
improving our military to military relations in the next couple of years.”
Together with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Wolfowitz argues that
links would help build democracy in Indonesia. History shows the opposite.
Please act now. Phone or fax your Representative and Senators
(see additional background and sample letter below). Tell them to
use their voice and vote in Congress to:
- Support renewal and strengthening of the restrictions on
International Military Education and Training (IMET) and Foreign
Military Financing (FMF) programs for Indonesia in the annual Foreign
Operations Appropriations bill. The Indonesian military (TNI) continues
to strongly resist reform, evade accountability for human rights
violations, and commit atrocious abuses of civilians throughout
Indonesia. The tsunami has not changed this record. The TNI has
manipulated aid in discriminatory ways and continued military operations
-- killing more than 120 Acehnese, most of them civilians -- since the
- Oppose any new U.S. programs for the Indonesian military or other
attempts to bypass existing Congressional restrictions on U.S. military
Phone calls and faxes are more effective than emails. The
congressional switchboard is 202-224-3121 (ask for the office of your
Senator or Representative), or check http://www.congress.org for direct
phone numbers, fax numbers or other contact information. Ask to speak with
the staff member who handles foreign affairs. Every call makes a
difference, so please contact your members of Congress today!
Please let us know if you have contacted Congress and any response
received. Send updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, see U.S.-Indonesia
Military Assistance page or
contact ETAN, 718-596-7668
(modify to your own words)
I am writing to oppose U.S. support for the Indonesian military.
I am disturbed that the administration and Indonesia are using the
tragic tsunami that struck Aceh as an excuse for increased U.S.
assistance to Indonesia's brutal military. Since May 2003,
Indonesia’s military has intensified its decades-long repression in
Aceh, committing numerous human rights violations and taking
hundreds of civilian lives.
I urge you to work to renew and strengthen restrictions on
International Military Education and Training (IMET) and Foreign
Military Financing (FMF) programs for Indonesia in the annual
Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The Indonesian military
continues to strongly resist reform, evade accountability for past
human rights violations, and commit atrocious human rights
violations throughout Indonesia. The tsunami has not changed this
I also urge you to oppose any attempts by the Administration to
bypass existing Congressional restrictions on U.S. engagement with
the Indonesian military through new or existing programs. This would
violate the spirit of the law and would hinder democracy-building,
respect for human rights and reconstruction in Indonesia.
I look forward to your response.
CITY, STATE ZIP
Background on U.S. Military Assistance to
Congress has the final word on U.S. training and weapons sales to the
Indonesian military. Congress first restricted Indonesia from receiving
International Military Education and Training (IMET) - which brings
foreign military officers to the U.S. for training - in response to the
November 12, 1991, Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor by Indonesian troops
wielding U.S.-supplied M-16 rifles. All military ties with Indonesia were
severed in September 1999, as the Indonesian military and its militia
proxies destroyed East Timor.
Congress again banned foreign military financing (FMF) and export
licenses for lethal weapons for Indonesia until certain conditions are
met, including justice for human rights violations in East Timor, Aceh and
elsewhere. Congress continues to bar IMET until the State Department
determines that Indonesia’s armed forces and government are cooperating
with the FBI's investigation into the 2002 murders of Indonesian and U.S.
citizens in West Papua. That investigation remains stalled.
Secretary of State Colin Powell recently offered Indonesia spare parts
for C-130 military transport planes. Although Indonesia has been allowed
to buy these parts since 2000 and received a license to do so in 2002,
Indonesian officials have repeatedly misrepresented their availability in
an effort to press the U.S. to remove all restrictions on weapons sales to
Indonesia. Secretary Powell asked Indonesia 'not [to] use them in a way
not intended.' However, the Indonesian military (TNI) has regularly used
U.S. weapons for repressive operations in East Timor, Aceh, West Papua,
and other areas where civilians were regularly targeted.
Aceh, on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, bore the brunt of
the tsunami, with more than three-quarters of the casualties worldwide. It
is also the site of one of Asia's longest-running wars. For three decades,
the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) has fought for independence from Indonesia.
Indonesia’s response has been brutal repression, mainly targeting
civilians. Support in Aceh for independence from Indonesia is widespread
and growing, because of the brutality of Indonesian security forces. Many
Acehnese also want a fair share of Aceh's natural resource wealth.
On December 2002, an internationally-brokered cease-fire was signed
between Indonesia and GAM, but it collapsed on May 2003 when then
Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri declared martial law in Aceh
Indonesia’s largest military operation since their 1975 invasion of
East Timor. Aceh's status was changed to "civil emergency" one year later,
but the TNI remains in charge and the reality on the ground has not
changed. Hercules C-130 military transports, OV-10 Broncos, F-16 fighters,
and other U.S. equipment have been used during military operations in
Even in the midst of the tsunami tragedy in Aceh, there are many
reports of abuse of humanitarian assistance by the Indonesian military,
including withholding food and other relief from civilians who lack proper
identification or are alleged to support independence. The Indonesian
military has said it will require soldiers to accompany international aid
workers outside the main cities, although there is no security threat. The
military and government have also brought jihadist and other militia to
Aceh, a classic repressive tactic used with deadly results in East Timor
see also ETAN:
Tsunami Must Not
Sweep Away Restrictions on Indonesian Military