Subject: Letter on Bush Waiver

Letters

Green Bay Press-Gazette

Posted January 3, 2006

Letters: People's Forum

Congress must send message on abuses

DENMARK The administration should not have granted unlimited military "aid" to Indonesia's unreformed military. Bypassing congressional restrictions will not help democracy or security in Indonesia, a former dictatorship that killed 70,000 people when it came to power or its neighbor East Timor, which it occupied for 24 years and killed one-third of the population.

The strong message sent by Congress that abuses must end, and those responsible be held accountable, is thrown out the window.

Likewise, lack of accountability and investigations into the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (former School of the Americas), and the torture-training manuals used, the Pentagon admitted after years of denial, shows further lack of respect for basic human rights and with it, democracy.

This year, 19,000 people gathered outside the gates of Fort Benning, Ga., where WHINSEC is housed, and 37 of us chose to commit nonviolent civil disobedience and risk prison to oppose this institution.

Arming dictators and run-amok militaries is no way to promote democracy. Officials should re-suspend training for Indonesia, and Congress should support HR 1217, which would suspend WHINSEC and set up an investigation into its history. Doing otherwise is taken as a green light to carry on business as usual in the name of those legal fictions of privilege, the corporation, not human rights and democracy.

Scott Dempsky

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The Ledger
Lakeland, FL
Published Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hold East Timor Tribunal

In a bitter irony, the Bush administration recently waived all restrictions on military assistance to Indonesia just weeks before the 30th anniversary of that military's invasion of East Timor. Just prior to the Dec. 7, 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. Tens of thousands of civilians died as a direct result.

No senior military or political official in multiple Indonesian or U.S. administrations has been held accountable for the crimes against humanity committed during the invasion or the subsequent quarter century of occupation. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's decision to override Congress and allow unrestricted U.S. assistance to the brutal Indonesian military for the first time in more than a decade only sanctions this cycle of impunity.

Secretary Rice should retract the wavier and, instead, put the administration's full weight behind an international tribunal on East Timor. After 30 years, Washington should have learned by now that genuine justice and human rights protections are in the national interest. Propping up an unreformed and unaccountable military is not.

GREGORY ESTEVE

Lake Wales

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The International Herald Tribune

December 5, 2005 Monday

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Weapons for Indonesia

In a bitter irony, the Bush administration recently waived restrictions on American military assistance to Indonesia just before the 30th anniversary of the Indonesian military's invasion of East Timor.

As detailed in the article ''Files show complicity on Timor'' (Dec. 2), just prior to the December 1975 invasion, Henry Kissinger turned a blind eye to Indonesia's attack on East Timor with weapons supplied by the United States.

Tens of thousands of civilians died as a direct result; nearly a third of the population perished in the following two decades.

No senior military or political official in multiple Indonesian or U.S. administrations has been held accountable for the crimes committed during the invasion or the subsequent quarter-century of occupation.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's decision to undermine Congress and allow an increase in American assistance to the brutal Indonesian military only sanctions this cycle of impunity.

Rice should retract the decision and instead put the administration's full weight behind an international tribunal on East Timor. After 30 years, Washington should have learned that genuine justice and human rights protections are in the national interest. Propping up an unreformed and unaccountable military is not.

Michael Proulx Dusseldorf, Germany


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