Subject: FT: US Senator Threatens Cut Off of Indon Military Aid - Cites Freeport Murder

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

excerpt: Mr Leahy said the [Indonesian] military was "a corrupt, abusive institution that has a long history of killing civilians and lying about it. The fact that they apparently believed they could murder two Americans in broad daylight and get away with it illustrates the extent of the impunity".

Financial Times [UK] November 1, 2002

US links aid for Jakarta to investigation into ambush

By Shawn Donnan in Jakarta

A key member of the US Congress yesterday tied resuming military aid to Jakarta to solving the killing in September of two Americans - for which members of the Indonesian military are now prime suspects.

Police in the remote province of Papua said this week that members of the military (or TNI) were the main suspects in the ambush that left the two teachers and an Indonesian colleague dead, and a dozen others injured.

Diplomats and analysts were quick to point to the military in the days after the attack. But the move by police this week marks the first official public accusation against the TNI, which has blamed separatists in the province. Indonesian soldiers are employed by Freeport McRowan to provide security at the Grasberg gold mine, the world's largest, which is located near to where the attack took place.

In Washington, Senator Patrick Leahy, the author of a law that prohibits US military aid to Indonesia, said bringing those responsible to justice was vital to any resumption in aid. US military aid to Indonesia was cut off in 1999 following atrocities in East Timor that were blamed on the military and military-backed militias.

Mr Leahy said the military was "a corrupt, abusive institution that has a long history of killing civilians and lying about it. The fact that they apparently believed they could murder two Americans in broad daylight and get away with it illustrates the extent of the impunity".

General Endriartono Sutarto, chief commander of the TNI, yesterday denied the military involvement in the Papua ambush. He also claimed the military had not yet been notified of police findings, although a group of generals from Jakarta visited Papua on October 10 and were briefed by police.

Analysts caution that even if members of the faction-ridden military were found to be responsible, the attack might have been the result of a local dispute rather than any operation ordered by Jakarta.

But they say that police suspicion of the military is already making more difficult a resumption of US-Indonesian relations and complicating the disbursement of US help to Jakarta to fight terrorism in the wake of the Bali bombing.

During a visit to Jakarta in August, Colin Powell, US secretary of state, said the US was "starting down a path toward a more normal relationship" with Indonesia and announced a three-year, $50m anti-terrorism assistance package.

Most of that money was earmarked for the police, however, and analysts say that, in the short term, the military is the only institution with the capabilities needed to fight organisations such as Jemaah Islamiah, the group suspected of the Bali attack.


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