Timika Case Survivor Patsy Spier Speaks Out for
Continuing IMET Ban Until Case Solved
August 31, 2004, marks the two-year anniversary of the West Papua,
Indonesia, ambush (Timika Case) in which my husband Rick, my superintendent
Ted Burgon, and my teaching colleague Bambang Riwanto were murdered; and
three Indonesians and eight Americans were wounded. Ten of the victims of
the ambush were teachers at the international school located on the
concession of the American copper and gold mine, Freeport McMoRan.
When I returned to the U.S. in September 2002, I knew I had to do
something about the evil that happened on that West Papuan mountain. What my
role would be became clear when the Indonesian National Police submitted
their report in October 2002, stating that the Indonesian military (TNI)
were apparently behind the ambush, and in November 2002, when the TNI
exonerated themselves of any involvement.
Since then, I have felt that the FBI would be our only hope for
determining who ordered and carried out the ambush that changed my life
forever. To achieve the needed access for the FBI, we survivors of the
Timika Case chose to focus on withholding the International Education and
Training (IMET) funds to Indonesia. In doing so, we felt it was among our
only options to put pressure on the Indonesian government/military until
there is full transparent cooperation with our FBI investigators.
Congressional offices listened, and in July 2003, Congressman Joel Hefley
(R-CO) offered legislation to withhold full IMET funding until there was
cooperation in the Timika Case, and in October 2003, Senator Russ Feingold
(D-WI), and Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO), offered similar legislation. Those
amendments were passed in the Omnibus bill in January 2004. I believe that
it is because of the passing of that legislation that our FBI investigators
were finally allowed access to evidence that was, until that time, denied
them regarding the August 31, 2002, ambush.
In late June 2004, an indictment was issued from the United States to
Indonesian authorities implicating one of the shooters of the ambush,
Anthonius Wamang. As was stated in the press release announcing the
indictment, the investigation is not over, and the Indonesian National
Police and the FBI were attempting to identify additional participants in
At this time, I am asking congressional offices to continue to support
legislation to ban full IMET to Indonesia in the FY05 Foreign Operations
Appropriations Act. I feel that with the continued ban of IMET the
Indonesian government/military/police will be encouraged to apprehend
Anthonius Wamang in a timely manner, and to bring him to justice in a manner
consistent with international standards, preferably here in the United
What happened to us on that mountain was not an unfortunate incident. It
was well planned and organized. I believe that if our investigators continue
to receive cooperation from the Indonesian authorities all those responsible
will be exposed, and the truth will be uncovered as to why the ambush was
ordered. I know that in doing so we will be helping to stop such madness
happening to others, regardless of their nationality.
West Papuan Human Rights Groups Issue Statement Questioning U.S.
Department of Justice Announcement on Killing of U.S. and Indonesian
Three leading West Papua human rights organizations have condemned as
incomplete and irresponsible the statement by U.S. Attorney General John
Ashcroft indicting Anthonius Wamang in the killing of two U.S. citizens and
one Indonesian citizen at the Freeport mine on August 31, 2002. The
statement urged the U.S. Congress to continue its pursuit of justice in the
An August 4 statement, issued by ELSHAM, LEMASA and YAHAMAK called for
continued investigation of the attack which also wounded eight U.S.
citizens. The statement expressed concern that Attorney General Ashcroft in
public comments and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announcement of the
indictment in the case had failed to reveal evidence in the Justice
Department's possession that was highly relevant to the investigation. That
evidence implicated the Indonesian military in what the U.S. has described
as a "terror attack."
The statement also questioned the Attorney General's claim that the only
identified assailant, Anthonius Wamang, was acting as a member of the Free
Papua Movement (OPM). The U.S. claim failed to note years of close
collaboration between the alleged assailant and the Indonesian military,
including the military's provision of ammunition to the alleged assailant.
The West Papuan groups also emphasized that the U.S. had failed to note
that the Indonesian police in their first report had offered evidence of a
role by the military in the August 2002 killings.
The groups expressed deep concern that the U.S. Government's attempt to
implicate the OPM could serve as a pretext for an Indonesian military
campaign against the resistance movement. In the past, such campaigns have
led to grave military abuses against the civilian population.
TNI Takes Advantage of U.S. Department of Justice Silence
In the wake of the U.S. Department of Justiceís public statements
regarding the indictment of Anthonius Wamang, the Indonesian military in
West Papua and throughout Indonesia has become more brazen in its
activities, apparently drawing cover from what it and the Indonesian
Government claim is "exoneration" by the U.S. DOJ statement regarding the
TNI's widely reported culpability in the Timika killings.
The U.S. Government has failed to correct the the misimpression that the
TNI is blameless in the killing by adamantly refusing to respond to
questions posed by journalists and others regarding the claimed
"exoneration," allowing the TNI characterization of the DOJ statement to
Court Exoneration of Indonesian Military Convicted of Human Rights Crimes
in East Timor: Implications for West Papua
The widely condemned August decision by the Indonesian Appeals Court to
overturn convictions of Indonesian military and police for egregious human
rights crimes in East Timor has ominous implications for West Papua. The
court action confirms that security forces retain their immunity from
effective prosecution for human rights crimes.
Absent fear of prosecution, the Indonesian military faces no effective
restraint in West Papua or Aceh, where it is pursuing brutal campaigns of
intimidation and repression. The West Papua campaign has included the
torture-murder of the most prominent West Papuan advocate for independence.
In addition, since April 2003, military operations in the central highlands
area have caused the flight of hundreds of villagers into inhospitable
forests and the incarceration of Christian pastors.
Indonesian Human Rights Commission Investigation Shows Crimes Against
Humanity Committed by Security Forces Against West Papuans
Indonesiaís National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) announced the
results of its investigation of two incidents in West Papua indicate that
security forces were guilty of gross human rights abuses in both cases. The
ìInquiry Commission of Human Rights of Wamena and Wasiorî was carried out
between December 2003 and July 2004. Its findings state that police and
military were guilty of torture, illegal detention, and extrajudicial
execution against West Papuan civilians. The incidents took place in the
region of Wasior in 2001, after five policemen were killed by alleged
rebels, and in Wamena in 2003 following the raid on an arsenal. Villages
were raided and burned causing villagers to flee to the forests where they
suffered from hunger and exposure.
The Commission recommended that 14 police and 162 soldiers be tried for
the crimes, and said that the commanding officers should also be held
accountable. Earlier, West Papuaís religious leaders had sent a letter to
the National Human Rights Commission calling for the results of the
investigation to be made public. The files will be handed over to the
Attorney General, as the Commission has no authority to prosecute.
Indonesian Military Reportedly Deploys Additional 1,800 Troops to West
Indonesian media reported August 16 that the Indonesian military has
deployed an additional 1,800 troops to West Papua, allegedly to address
border difficulties with Papua New Guinea. Indonesia claims that PNG
villagers have made traditional land claims amounting to 267 square
kilometers along the largely un-demarcated border separating PNG from West
The area includes nine villages inhabited largely by PNG citizens. The
new deployment comes in the face of appeals by West Papuan civic leaders,
including church leaders and local officials, for a demilitarization of West
Large West Papuan Assemblage Calls for U.N.-Monitored Vote on
Approximately 1,000 West Papuans gathered on August 16 in Jayapura, the
West Papua capital, to demand that the United Nations conduct a referendum
for independence from rule by Jakarta. An "act of free choice" monitored by
the U.N. in 1969 is widely acknowledged to have been fraudulent, even by the
U.N. official charged with overseeing it.
The large gathering included church and tribal leaders, civil servants,
students and members of the Free Papua Movement or OPM (Organisasi Papua
Merdeka), a pro-independence militia which has now renounced violence. The
timing of the event, on the eve of Indonesia's national day, appears to have
been intended as a rejection of West Papua's forced integration into
The rally also protested human rights abuses by the Indonesian military
and the Indonesian central government's conspiracy with foreign
corporations, notably New Orleans-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold,
Inc., to exploit West Papuan resources in a manner that devastates the
environment and accrues nearly all profits to the corporations and officials
U.N. Recognizes West Papuan Victims of Repression as Refugees
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in early August accorded
refugee status to hundreds of West Papuan asylum seekers in Papua New
Guinea's Sandaun Province. The refugees had sought refugee status for
several years following their flight from West Papua in 2000. Their flight
was necessitated by Indonesian military operations.
Catholic church officials in Papua New Guinea, including Tas Maketu,
National Director of Caritas, strongly welcomed the decision. Maketu
observed: "The refugee status basically means that there is now an official
recognition from the government of Papua New Guinea and the UNHCR that these
people have fled their country because of persecution and their safety is
not guaranteed back in their country from which they came, which is just
across the border."
Church Groups Seek U.N. Investigation of Latest Rights Abuse Case
Two religious-based humanitarian organizations, the Jayapura Catholic
Dioceseís Office for Justice and Peace and Franciscans International, have
requested that the United Nations investigate apparent violations of human
rights in the trial of two Papuans alleged to have been involved in an April
2003 raid on a military armory in Wamena. The military used the incident as
a pretext to conduct a broad military campaign that in ensuing months forced
the internal displacement of hundreds of villagers into surrounding forests.
The military has continued to block provision of humanitarian assistance to
On August 16, the two religious offices reported that two West Papuans
defendants had been denied proper medical attention since their detention in
November 2003. Moreover, the two were denied access to a translator in their
trial process. The two defendants are Jigi Jigibalom, 50, and Tenius Murib,
Some Imprisoned Papuan Civic Leaders Released
Eight Papuans who had been imprisoned on charges associated with a
peaceful and legal flag-raising ceremony and related disturbances in Wamena
in 2000 were released in late August. The RFK Center Indonesia Support
Group, Amnesty International and other international and Papua-based
organizations campaigned for their release (See the January 2004 RFK Papua
Report for additional details, www.rfkmemorial.org).
The October 6, 2000, incident involved the arrest of a number of local civic
leaders, including respected Christian pastors, on charges that they had
caused a riot in which Indonesian security officials were attacked.
Supporters of the imprisoned Wamena residents have long held that the local
leaders actually were involved in trying to stop the fighting, which was
sparked by police action against a peaceful pro-independence rally. Four
Wamena citizens detained in the incident remain incarcerated. These include
prominent nonviolent religious leader, Reverend Obeth Komba, whom Amnesty
International has designated a prisoner of conscience.