HEARING ON THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN EAST TIMOR; WASHINGTON, D.C.
September 30, 1999
International Operations And Human Rights Subcommittee of the House
Committee on International Relations: Subcommittee on International
Operations and Human Rights Holds Hearing Monitoring the Humanitarian
Crisis In East Timor
T. Kumar, Amnesty International USA
Arnold Kohen, author
Allan Nairn, journalist
Emilia Pires, CNRT
Questions and Answers
SMITH: Let me first begin with T. Kumar, who is the amnesty
director Asia and the Pacific for Amnesty International USA. Mr. Kumar
earned degrees from the University of Pennsylvania law school and the
International Institute of Human Rights and was a prisoner of conscience
himself for five years in Sri Lanka. He also has been a great provider of
factual and incisive information to this subcommittee for many years, and
we're grateful for that.
Arnold Kohen is the author of the biography of
East Timorese bishop Carlos Belo, recently published by St. Martin's
Press, as well as the president of The Humanitarian Project, a
Washington-based organization, working to aid the church and the people of
East Timor. Mr. Kohen, who has worked closely with clergy from East Timor
over the past two decades, is a former investigative reporter with NBC
Allan Nairn is a widely published investigative journalist who
focuses on U.S. foreign policy and overseas operations. His coverage of
the November 1991 massacre of East Timorese civilians by the Indonesian
military won numerous journalism awards. Formally banned from entering
Indonesia, Mr. Nairn has twice been arrested by the Indonesian military,
including earlier this month in East Timor.
international pressure on his behalf, the government of Indonesia deported
him approximately 10 days ago.
And finally, Emilia Pires, who was born in
East Timor, and at the age of 14 fled East Timor with her family. For the
past 15 years, Ms. Pires has been an international advocate for the plight
of her people. She has appeared before the UN Commission on Human Rights
on behalf of the people of East Timor and is a board member of the East
Timor Human Rights Center.
Ms. Pires currently lives and works in
Australia, and we are very grateful that she is here as well.
I'd like to
begin first with Mr. Kumar if he would begin his testimony.
T KUMAR, AMNESTY INT'L USA
KUMAR: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman,
for inviting Amnesty International and for holding this important hearing
at this crucial time.
The reason why I mentioned crucial is that there is
a general feeling that since peacekeepers are moving in, everything is
fine and well in East Timor, and to the people of East Timorese. Our
reports show that things are not so fine, and still East Timorese in West
Timor and other parts of Indonesia, including Jakarta, Yogyjakarta, Bali
and other places, have been harassed and abused by the Indonesian military
and the militias.
I would like to draw your attention to that issue, Mr.
Chairman. When I was listening to the hearing testimonies during the last
two or three hours, I was taken aback by the enormous responsibility that
human rights organizations and people like you who are in power carry to
protect and promote individuals who have been abused and killed and
slaughtered in large numbers with total impunity.
We as an organization
have been working on abuses around the world for the last 38 years. This
is the first time we were compelled to issue an urgent action. That means
it's a crisis situation that we alerted 1.1 million members around the
world that the whole population of East Timor was in danger of fear of
being killed or abused. In that note, we can certify you that the abuses
that occurred until the international community put its act together was
beyond belief even to organizations like us, who monitor abuses around the
We are grateful that President Clinton took a strong step. But we
wish that he took those steps at least a week before. If he would have
taken the same steps at least a week before, we could have saved hundreds
if not thousands of lives. We could have saved children who are left
orphans today. We could have saved thousands who were forced to be
kidnapped to West Timor. This may be a lesson that we all have to look
back. When there is a crisis, when there is slaughter going on, act
immediately with aid to your friend or foe.
The history of East Timor
tells us only one thing. The tragedy did not start two months ago, six
months ago. In '75 when the Indonesians invaded, one-third of the
population was wiped out. The entire world, including ours, Mr. Chairman,
kept in silence. It's OK to keep in silence to some extent, but they were
rewarded with military training and weaponry. Our corporations lined up to
profit from the natural wealth of that company, looking the other way of
the abuses that's being perpetrated against innocent civilians.
says anything to us today, one thing we have to learn is, never, never
keep silent whenever there are abuses. Indonesian military got this
courage and strength to slaughter with total impunity ever since they
slaughtered half a million to a million Indonesian in the wake of coup
d'etat. It was looked upon as an anti- communist issue in the world at
large, especially our country kept quiet. That was the mistake that both
made. So we are seeing a country which has, the military which has been
used to abuse its citizens for the last 30 years.
The victory so to speak
that we are seeing today is not only the victor for East Timorese, it is a
victory for Indonesians. Indonesians are the people who suffered most.
They were the people who were slaughtered under this military. With total
impunity for 35 years at Aceh, Irian Jaya, even Java, there are seven
political prisoners still in prison in Indonesia, Budiman and six
other people. They have been completely and conveniently forgotten by
everyone. When I met with Gusmão yesterday I asked him how is Budiman doing, even though I don't know him and just asked him. Answer was,
he is taking the lead now. Gusmão is taking the lead to make sure that
these people are released.
So in a nutshell, what we are seeing today is a
victory to the Indonesian people. And justice to the Indonesian people if
the International War Crimes Tribunal is set up.
On that note, Mr.
Chairman, I would like to bring it to your attention that was brought to
us from London this morning that Jakarta may not accept the tribunal
that's going to be set up. If it is true, then Clinton administration and
you in the leadership position have to make a very strong and clear
statement and stand against this international institution that's going to
In closing, for Amnesty, people of East Timorese have been very
close to us ever since their suffering started. In 1974 we had a media
campaign called "Three Decades of Suffering and Terror in East
Timor." This is the report we published with enormous -- in fact, Gusmão
is being portrayed here with his picture.
I also would like to urge you to
include my full statement in the, for the records.
Thank you again, Mr.
Chairman. Amnesty International is pleased to testify.
SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Kumar, for your excellent statement and
for your strong appeal. And your full statement will be made a part of the
record, and the full statements and addendums by all of our witnesses. I'd
like to ask Mr. Kohen if you would proceed.
ARNOLD KOHEN: Mr. Chairman, excuse me for getting here late. I
wanted to make sure that I was able to speak with Bishop Belo to send a
special message to the committee. He just arrived now in Portugal from
And when I finally reached him and I told him I was coming here
to testify he said, well, what is your message? And I said, well, the
message is that the Clinton administration, the Congress, all the
political parties in the United States and all the candidates should be
united behind the goal of ending the violence in East Timor and making
sure that the East Timorese people and the churches there are able to
rebuild. And he said, well, that's exactly the message I would like to
send. Please tell them I would like to come there myself when I have an
opportunity. And for the moment, if you could convey certain things for
me. I intend to make a very brief extemporaneous statement and I'll have a
slightly longer one for the record.
I spoke with Bishop Belo just before
his house was attacked on September 6th. At that time he was as he always
is. He was skeptical that there would be such a full-scale assault on his
residence. It had never happened before. He was quite surprised that such
a thing would take place. He is somebody who hates exaggerations and
fabrications, and he had even said that the attack on the dioceses the day
before wasn't actually an attack on the heart of the dioceses, it was an
attack on the garage of the dioceses. So that's where he was until two
hours before the attack came.
He asked me to call him back, and I said,
are you going anywhere? And he said, well, where could I possibly go? I
have 4,000 people taking refuge here, so I can't just go running around.
Well, what ended up taking place was militias and actually a handful of
Timorese in front led by special forces came into his house, came in
shooting. And six young men who live in his compound gathered around him
to protect him from harm. The militias told him, "Sit down." The
bishop refused to sit down. The reason that he did is because, and I'll
hold this up, the Liquica church massacre in April of this year took
place. And what had happened there is that people were told to sit down,
and they never got up. They were essentially assaulted. And the bishop
just got up, walked out, walked out the front gate, went to the police,
insisted on protection and said he had to leave, because he knew that he
had to go and speak with the Pope in Rome and tell him about this. Because
essentially, the last barrier had been broken.
I had stayed in the
bishop's house on a number of occasions. This is one place where people
could go for refuge. This is one place where you would not see these kinds
of assaults. It didn't make what was going on outside any nicer, but at
least people felt some security that they could go there. This ended on
Now quite unfortunately I have to say that when the Liquica
massacre took place, there were certain communications made to this
administration by people in Congress, by people in churches, and the
response that they got back, particularly from people in the Pentagon was,
well, if we restore military aid to Indonesia, perhaps we'll have more
influence on them.
Now, unfortunately, I think what happened as a result
of that is that Indonesian military people -- and I have this from a
number of sources. I'm a trained investigative reporter. I used to work
from NBC News. I have it from a number of sources that the way that the
Indonesian military interpreted this from our military is that in effect
what had happened in Liquica and what these militias were doing rather
quietly out of the view of television cameras and reporters in the
countryside of East Timor was of no great consequence. And effectively,
that led to the assault on, not only the assault on the bishop's house,
the assault on the ICRC and the assault on East Timor as a whole.
somebody that over the years, and I have to say because I think there are
witnesses here with me that would attest to this, that I have not been
automatically one that would have said in the past, OK, let's cut all aid.
Because sometimes these communications between our military and the
Indonesian military have proven to be useful. After the Santa Cruz
massacre, for example, and on a few other occasions. On this occasion,
that did not work. It simply did not. This was abused.
I really feel that something more could have been done. As Mr. Kumar
just said, a lot more could have been done to dissuade the Indonesian
military, and I think that even until recent days, they didn't quite get
KOHEN: I think that there was a sense that they would pay no
great price for what they were doing. And I think that what took place in
recent weeks -- and, indeed, the killing of church workers the other day.
I happen to have known the Italian sister who was killed and the Timorese
sister who was killed. These people were delivering aid to people in the
countryside, they had hurt nobody. Soldiers on the way out just started
They've done it in other places, not only at religious workers
and not only at Catholics. There have been Protestant Timorese who were
killed, the deputy head of the Protestant church in East Timor. Others
have been threatened.
Just yesterday I received a communication from
religious sisters in Australia who were in touch with the sisters in Timor
and they said that militias right now -- that is, as of yesterday -- were
given license, they said, by elements of the military to go around and
start killing priests and nuns. I don't know if this will happen, I sure
hope it doesn't.
I think that if we put enough pressure on the Indonesian
military maybe it won't. But this is the type of atmosphere I think was
created by trying to restore military aid after something like this takes
place. So I think I will end it there, take any questions later. There's a
lot more to say. I'm happy to do that. But that's the essence, I think, of
what I'd like to communicate.
SMITH: Thank you very much, Mr. Kohen. And appreciate your
You know, you mentioned Bishop Belo. Just say for the record,
Joseph Rees, our staff director and general counsel, was actually in the
church when the announcement was made that Bishop Belo had received the
Nobel Peace Prize, which certainly was a great moment. But -- and thank
you for conveying his thoughts and sentiments to the committee and by
extension to the American people.
NAIRN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Excuse, I've had a lung problem
that flared up, so a little difficult to talk.
It's a special pleasure to be here today and been in the same room with
Xanana and Jose Ramos-Horta and Kumar and Emilia and Arnold Kohen, who's
been such a tireless campaigner for human rights.
Today, as we're meeting
here, Dili is in ruins. Half of Timor is in effect held hostage. They're
finding the remains of decapitated boys, as AFP reported yesterday.
They're finding police file photos of dead torture victims with their
hands bound behind their backs. Uncounted thousands of Timorese are still
in hiding and surviving on roots and leaves. And General Wiranto's
militias are threatening further terror.
And yet this is a great day,
because East Timor stands on the brink of freedom. It's hard to imagine,
really. They said it couldn't be done.
Back in December 1975, when the Indonesian military began consulting
with Washington about a possible invasion, they promised that they could
crush Timor within two weeks. General Ali Murtopo came to the White House
and met with General Brent Scowcroft. President Ford and Henry Kissinger
went to Jakarta and sat down with Suharto. And then 16 hours later the
invasion was underway. The paratroopers dropped from U.S. C-130s. They
used new U.S. machine guns to shoot the Timorese into the sea.
In 1990, when I first went to Timor, the intelligence chief, Colonel
Gatot Purwiranto, confirmed that by that time their operation had killed a
third of the original population.
On November 12, 1991, when the troops marched on the Santa Cruz
cemetery, they carried U.S. M-16s. They didn't bother with warning shots.
Amy Goodman and I stood between them futilely hoping to stop them
from opening fire. But they opened fire systematically and they kept on
shooting because, as the national commander, General Sutrisno, explained:
These Timorese are disrupters; such people must be shot. That was army
policy; that is army policy.
And at no time during these years of
slaughter did the U.S. government's executive branch ever decide that the
time had come to stop supporting the perpetrators. President Carter and
Richard Holbrooke sent in OV-10 Broncos and helicopters. Presidents
Reagan, Bush and Clinton sent in weapons, multilateral financing and
But now they say circumstances have changed. President
Clinton has announced a military cutoff, and there is even a Clinton
doctrine under which the U.S. says it will intervene to prevent mass
slaughters of genocides, pogroms and ethnic cleansings.
In recent weeks,
commentators have criticized the U.S. for failure to intervene, for not
sending in foreign troops fast enough to stop the Indonesian army's final
burst of Timor terror.
But, Mr. Chairman, I want to make the point today that intervention is
not the issue. The Clinton doctrine and the questions flowing from it do
not apply in Timor or Indonesia because the killing is being perpetrated
with the active assistance of the United States. The U.S. is not an
observer here, it is not agonizing on the sidelines. It has instead been
the principle patron of the Indonesian armed forces. The issue is not
whether we should step in and play policeman to the world, but rather
whether we should continue to arm, train and finance the world's worst
I think most Americans would say no, we shouldn't do that, and I know
that many in Congress from both parties would agree. But as of this
moment, U.S. policy is still, the temporary cutoff notwithstanding, to
restore as soon as possible its support for the Indonesian armed
On March 3rd, Admiral Dennis Blair, the U.S. commander in chief,
Pacific, told Congress that the TNI/ABRI, the Indonesian armed forces, is
the main instrument for order in Indonesia. He was speaking, as he and the
world knew, after 34 years of army terror that has claimed perhaps a
million Indonesians and 200,000 East Timorese.
In most people's eyes, such
violent behavior is the antithesis of order, but for the U.S. executive
branch it has been the basis of a policy. In dozens of countries,
unfortunately, the U.S. has chosen to us and succor killer armies. From
Guatemala City to Bogota to Beijing, it has embraced the enemies of
But today in Timor we can rejoice, because for once that policy
has been defeated. And in Jakarta, Surabaya and Medan, on the streets of
the fourth-largest country in the world, brave Indonesian students and
working people are demonstrating against the army. They demand that it get
out of politics, that it dismantle its feared police state. They are
risking their lives for real democracy. The United States should be on
their side. But it isn't, Mr. Chairman, at least not yet.
That's why we
are here today. Congress needs to act to reverse the fundamental course of
U.S. policy. The bill, H.R. 2895, which you and others are backing, is a
good start to ending support for terror in Timor, but Congress needs to go
further in at least two basis respects.
First, the cutoff should be conditioned not just on Timor issues, but
also on an end to Indonesian army terror everywhere. The army should not
be able to win back U.S. support by choosing new targets. Severe
repression in Aceh, West Papua and elsewhere is already underway. Congress
should not be supporting it simply because the army has finished with
Second, although this cutoff bill may be the most comprehensive ever
attempted, there are still many lines of support for TNI/ABRI and the
Indonesian national police that the legislation does not cover. Last year
there was an uproar in Congress when it was disclosed that the Pentagon's
JCET program was training the army in urban warfare, psyops and sniper
technique. Congress, like the press and public, had thought that military
training was cut off when Congress canceled Indonesia's IMET training
after the '91 Dili massacre.
Today, it is again the conventional wisdom that the U.S. no longer
trains the Indonesian military and that U.S. material support for TNI/ABRI
is now at a token level. It is indeed the case that due to public pressure
a bipartisan coalition in Congress has cut many lines of support,
including bans on small arms, armored vehicles and the use of U.S. weapons
in Timor and the cancellation of deals for F-5 and F-16 fighters.
is also the case that contrary to Congress' understanding with the
executive branch, the U.S. has through 1999 been intensifying its links
with TNI/ABRI, even as Timor militia terror and repression in Aceh have
escalated. And it is also the case that there are many complex lines of
support for Indonesia's armed forces that to this day remain largely
unknown to even the most engaged members of Congress.
For the past four
months I've been -- five months I've been in Indonesia and occupied Timor
trying to investigate these lines of support. It would take many hours to
lay out the facts in detail, but I'll just mention a few brief examples to
give an idea of the scope of the problem.
A couple of weeks ago, I
reported in The Nation magazine on internal Pentagon cables, classified
cables, which indicated that two days after the Liquica massacre, which
Arnold so graphically described, that horrific church massacre in which
the militias, backed up by uniformed BRIMOB troops, went into the church
and the rectory and hacked dozens to death.
Two days after that meeting,
the senior U.S. uniformed officer in the Pacific, Admiral Dennis Blair,
sat down with General Wiranto, the Indonesian commander. Blair had a
mission from the State Department and others to tell Wiranto to shut the
But in fact, as the classified cable summarizing the
meeting in great detail shows, Blair did the opposite. He offered Wiranto
new U.S. military assistance. He offered to join Wiranto in lobbying the
U.S. Congress to reverse standing U.S. policy, to get the IMET military
He offered Wiranto the first new U.S. training program
for the Indonesian security forces since 1992. This was a crowd control
and riot control program that was focused on BRIMOB, precisely the unit
that two days before had helped stage the Liquica massacre. He even
invited Wiranto to be his personal guest at his quarters in Hawaii.
Wiranto and his people were delighted by the meeting. They took it as a
green light to proceed.
I can now report to the committee, Mr. Chairman,
that there was an additional meeting after the Blair-Wiranto session which
had perhaps even more significant implications. This one took place on
July 14th in Jakarta. It involved Admiral Archie Clemins, the commander of
the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Admiral Clemins came in to make a presentation to
senior ABRI leadership, including the naval leadership.
Now, at this time the militia campaign was in full swing. The Liquica
massacre had happened, the assault on Dili had happened. This was the
assault in which the militias staged a rally in front of the governor's
office, it was broadcast live on the official state radio station, Radio
Republic Indonesia. Eurico Guterres, the militia leader, stood up and
issued a public death threat against the Carrascalao family.
then proceeded to trash the Carrascalao house, kill the son of Manuel
Carrascalao, kill dozens of refugees who were hiding in the rear of the
house, rampaged through Dili shooting people on site -- this all after a
ceremony that had been presided over by the Indonesian occupation governor
and General Zacky Anwar Makarim, the Indonesian military coordinator of
the Indonesian -- of the militia operation, and as I will discuss in a
minute, a longtime protege and trainee of U.S. intelligence. So this was
after the Dili rampage, after countless other militia killings.
And on July 14, Admiral Clemins came into Jakarta, and according to
Indonesian officers who were present and according to Admiral Clemins' own
presentation notes for the meeting, he offered the officers an increase, a
step up in the U.S. military relationship with Indonesia. He said
re-engagement is crucial to maintaining the U.S.- Indonesia relationship.
He referred to the Siabu (?) Range in Medan, where Indonesia had given
U.S. rights to stage air-to-ground firing exercises, and he made a
politically crucial proposal. He proposed that in Surabaya, at the
Indonesian naval eastern fleet headquarters, training facilities be
established for the U.S. military.
Now, anyone who follows Indonesian
military politics knows that there are few hotter issues than the prospect
of U.S. military bases in Indonesia.
NAIRN: Some in the military are for it. Some are against it. It
is a highly-charged issue. Here Admiral Clemins was going to the military
leadership and proposing what he called possible training sites to train
U.S. troops directly in an ongoing permanent basis on Indonesian soil.
Admiral Clemins went so far as to say that the U.S. goals for the
Asia-Pacific region depend on maintaining our strategic partnership with
Indonesia. This at a time when the State Department and the White House
were publicly threatening to cut off the Indonesian army because of the
militia terror and the terror in Aceh.
He then went on to urge the Indonesian military to, as he put it,
maintain access to advanced technology. He specifically was talking about
new, large-scale purchases of high-tech electronics, which would allow the
Indonesian navy to integrate their command and control and surveillance
facilities directly with those of the U.S. Navy. And he went on to discuss
in some detail the FDNF IT21 installation. These are U.S. naval
electronics, which he was urging the Indonesian military to link up with.
If you'd like, Mr. Chairman, I could make available to the committee
some of the slides that the Admiral presented in this meeting and some of
the Admiral's own...
SMITH: We'd be very much interested in seeing those.
NAIRN: ... Admiral's own notes. Now, as this was going on and as
the militias were rampaging on the streets of Dili, the U.S. was
continuing to ship in ammunition to Indonesia. Last year, Representative
McKinney and the chairman and others made a special effort to try to cut
off the influx of U.S. ammunition and spare parts. At the time, it did not
succeed. But this year we could see the consequences.
A few weeks ago, as
Dili was burning and as the UN had evacuated, as foreign journalists had
left, I had the opportunity to be, I think, probably the last foreign,
certainly foreign journalist left on the streets of Dili. And I was
walking around in the early mornings going from one abandoned house to
another. You could hear the militias coming around the corners on their --
with their chopper motorcycles. They would fire into the air and honk
their horns as they were about to sack and burn another house.
And you also found littering the streets, hundreds upon hundreds of
shell casings. They came from two places, one from Pindad [PT Pindad:
Pusat Industri AD. Army Industries Center], the Indonesian military
industries, which have joint ventures with a whole list of U.S. companies.
And the other from Olin Winchester of East Alton, Illinois. These
cartridges had been recently shipped in to Battalion 744, one of the
territorial battalions in Timor, and then issued to the militiamen. As you
can see from these photos, they come in the new white Olin Winchester
boxes, 20 cartridges to a box. These were among the bullets that they were
using to terrorize, to terrorize Dili.
The units on the ground that were specifically running the militia
operation included some of those most intensively trained by the United
States. This includes Group 4 and Group 5 of Kopassus, Brimob, the Kostrad
Infantry Units. The individual officers coordinating the militia
operation, including General Zacky Makarim, Admiral Yoost Mengko, General
Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Colonel Wiyotomo Nugroho, who was the on the ground
coordinator for the militias in the initial months of their operation,
were all graduates of U.S. IMET and intelligence training.
I'll just stop by citing one dimension that I would suggest Congress
look into. Congress -- many in Congress believe that they have cut off
U.S. training for the Indonesian military and police. As far as I can
tell, that is not the case. There are several other training programs
going on beside IMET, beside JCET.
Admiral Sudono the long-time chief of Suharto's secret police, a man
who was presented with the Legion of Merit by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of
Staff, told me in a series of on-the-record interviews, that for years the
CIA has been providing intelligence training to intelligence operatives
from the Indonesian armed forces. He said that this training involved 10
to 15 Indonesian officers per year who would be brought over to the U.S.
for a two- to three-month intelligence course. He said that, as he
understood it, this training continues to the present.
Last year, when I
was arrested by the Indonesian armed forces and interrogated, the man who
was interrogating me, who identified himself as Major Dodi Rabowo, at the
end of our interrogation session, he leaned over to me and said, you know,
I am a member of U.S. intelligence. I said what do you mean? What are you
talking about? And he then went on to describe in detail training that he
said he had received at the Ciputot police camp in Jakarta and in
Quantico, Virginia. As Robowo described it, this training involved
instructors from the FBI, DEA and CIA. And it included training in
subjects such as indoor pistol technique, surveillance and
Over the ensuing year in speaking to many Indonesian and U.S.
officials, I have finally been able to confirm all the key elements of
Rabowo's story. Indeed there has been ongoing training at Quantico. Indeed
the FBI to this day has it's own special training program for the
Indonesian police. Many are brought to the FBI Academy, others receive
training on site in Indonesia, often in intelligence and weapon-handling
techniques. There are several different strands of so-called
Just one month ago, according to U.S. military sources in Jakarta, a
U.S. intelligence team was due to come in and provide what they called
countersurveillance training to the Indonesian security forces. The
Pentagon has been providing new advanced equipment to the BIA, the
Indonesian military intelligence agency, including special radios for use
in operations in Irian Jaya, West Papua. There's a whole strand of links
involving training and material supply, and it's not even covered by the
Pentagon. Not even covered by the relevant legislation dealing with the
Pentagon. It involves the FBI, the CIA, the DEA, Customs, the U.S.
Marshals. It's a very intricate series of connections. According to
Indonesian police documents I've seen, the recent training includes
explosives and explosive countermeasures. According to a former chief of
the SGI, that's the special intelligence unit in East Timor, who I spoke
to, the Kopassus has received training from U.S. Special Forces troops in
techniques including the assembly of explosives. And what this colonel,
this SGI colonel claimed, was torture resistance. This is -- these are
sessions in which he said torture techniques are discussed and practiced
to a certain extent on trainees. The theory being, if you get caught by
the enemy this might happen to you so you ought to know what the
techniques are. He said that this training was not very impressive to the
Kopassus since they already knew all the torture techniques. And he even
claimed -- and he even gave me the names of some individual Kopassus
officers who he said had died in training as these counter-torture
techniques were practiced. But he said it was part of the curriculum that
the U.S. forces had given. I'll stop there. There isn't really -- well,
there's one more thing, one more interesting side note. Even as the
militia terror was rising to its height, there was another strand of
training going on involving what you might call localization or
privatization. A number of Indonesian police and intelligence officers
were being sent for training with individual U.S. police departments. One
crew was just up at the New York City Police Department, the NYPD Police
Academy just about a month and a half ago. Others -- I know contacts have
been made with the departments in Virginia and California as well. These
training sessions are technically not under the auspices of the State
Department or Pentagon, but apparently they are arranged with the help of
the local CIA station in Jakarta and they say with approval from State
Department officials in Washington.
And a related type of training is
happening right now at Norwich University in Vermont where at this moment
at least nine Kopassus special forces soldiers are being trained. This a
program that was set up with assistance from the U.S. Defense Intelligence
Agency. Again, it's not technically under the current State Department or
Pentagon umbrella, but it's yet another way in which the U.S. executive
branch manages by hook or by crook to provide support for the Indonesian
So the short answer to what has the U.S. role been with the
Indonesian military in the months of the militia terror, it has been deep,
it has been extensive and many key officials have been attempting to
intensify it. And I believe that should stop, and I believe that many in
Congress have clearly shown the will to stop it. It's just a matter now of
tracking down all these lifelines that run into Jakarta. And it takes a
lot of work, but then going around and systematically cutting them off one
by one, because that's the only thing that will work.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SMITH: Thank you very much for your extensive testimony. You
just may find it of interest, on a recent trip to Jakarta when I met with
our U.S. military attache, I had two of your articles. I had other
documents as well. And when I shared it with him and with others in the
embassy, he just dismissed it completely. You had pointed out the training
of Kopassus and the problems that -- the allegations which the record
clearly bears out of their use of torture against innocent people. And he
also said that the JCETs program had been looked at by human rights
organizations and had been given the green light. To which I said, name
one. Give me the names of the organizations. And he was -- I got nothing
but a vacant and blank stare.
So I -- we do thank you for your
PIRES: Thank you. I just want to say, first of all, that the
reason I'm here in America, I am accompanying Xanana Gusmao. I'm part of a
technical team. Before I came here, I was in Jakarta. About two months
ago, I went to Jakarta to help my leaders in development plans for East
Timor. We were thinking that everything was going all right and were
preparing for the ballot, and then what was coming after the ballot.
Unfortunately after the ballot and after the warnings not only of my
leaders to the international community, to UNAMET itself, I remember
speaking to members of UNAMET in Australia, asking them what would happen
after ballot. Would forces be in place after the ballot? Because we felt
that it was very dangerous period, this period after the ballot to the
phase three. And we were told, don't worry; we'll be there. We won't
abandon East Timorese people. Unfortunately, we all know what happened.
And so after, after the ballot and after the announcement of the
results, the destruction started to happen in East Timor. I stayed behind
in Jakarta to actually help the other East Timorese who became targeted by
the Indonesian special forces and some militias.
At the beginning it was -- a number of people started to contact us to
ask for protection, to get out of the country because they were harassed.
It started with some of the CNRT leaders. And in our limited way we
managed to get them out of the country. And then students started to come
to us. And then the lists started to increase. So after awhile, not long,
within a week, we had about 700 people registered with us. There was
myself and another two Timorese in the team, started to work -- to put the
list together. And within about two weeks the list went up to 2,000
people. And we knew we couldn't help it, so we started to approach
embassies. We started to approach the United Nations High Commission for
Refugees, for them to do something, the Red Cross.
Because people started
to -- seeking refuge in private homes, seeking refuge in convents,
religions orders and NGOs for protection. But even so, they didn't seem to
actually get the protection they were seeking.
And so we took it upon
ourselves to actually plead with governments to see if we could evacuate
these refugees. My leaders before already touched on this issue of the
refugees not only in West Timor but those ones that were in other islands
of Indonesia. The reason why we concentrated on the other islands of
Indonesia was because we felt that at least we could help those people,
because in West Timor, access was very hard, especially for people like
us. International communities themselves could not actually access the
concentration camps while I was there. And that was mid-September when I
was still organizing the beginning of this evacuation.
When I actually
came out, when I was called to come out from Jakarta and come here, we
were at the stage where the United Nations High Commission for Refugees
were already in the process together with UNAMET representatives, the Red
Cross, they were all trying to help, and a lot of the embassies in
PIRES: And we got the green light from the Indonesian government
that our people could get out of Indonesia. But we needed to organize
transportation, et cetera. So we did that.
But unfortunately today, it's
already about 10 days after, nothing has happened. The people are still
there. I keep in constant contact with them. The situation is becoming
worse. People have moved from house to house. My own group when I was in
Jakarta, we were already on the fifth hotel, because every time we got
detected, and we felt that we were not secure anymore, we had to move to
And then my, my -- the colleague that I left behind is now
in the sixth hotel, because the other hotel was recently -- there were
demonstrations, and new faces started to hang around the hotel and they
felt -- they got information that anytime they would have been discovered.
And well, the responsibility they carried was just too big. At that time
when I spoke to her was about -- we already had 3,500 people on our list.
Now these people are mainly students that were in Indonesia before the
voting, as well as workers. People that were living in Indonesia, studying
in Indonesia, and that with the voting, they became exposed. The students
actually undertook the campaigning, and the workers came out from remote
villages in Indonesia itself to the main centers where there was the
polling booth for voting. And so they were exposed, and now they were
Houses have been ransacked in there. Death threats have been given
to our people. And at the moment I believe that there's not -- a list, the
people on our list, not one single one of them that is living openly. They
are actually in hiding. Now some people, for example in Bali, they were
hiding in the church grounds. And we were told that even the bishop house,
and this is not Timorese bishop, the bishop in Bali, were visited by a
head of a military and he was questioned: How many Timorese went through
the house? How many stayed?
Nuns were becoming nervous about housing
Timorese. Some Indonesian families that give some protection to the
Timorese families became also nervous because after there were people,
Indonesian people dressed up in civilian clothes, but you clearly tell
that they were from some, either TNI or Kopassus. Questioning the
families: Where is this person, where is this family? And they keep
coming, once, twice, three times. And the fourth time, the families, the
Indonesian families themselves could not handle it anymore. They would ask
the Timorese families, could you please find another place.
And so they
would -- the used to come to us seeking our help to find alternative
accommodations, alternative refuge.
On the 26th of September when I rang
Jakarta, I was told that in South Jakarta there was a center, a training
center named KV Pauldrie (ph) in Silandac (ph). There were 20,000 people
being trained there. And they consisted mainly of soldiers from East
Timor, Indonesian soldiers. Some members of the militia groups, Aitarak
and Besi Merah Putih, and some other 2,000 East Timorese that were forced
from -- the ones that they took to West Timor, and then the young males,
2,000 of them were taken to Jakarta to this training center to be trained.
And apparently the aim of the training center was to actually train these
people as militias so that they could go back to East Timor from West
Timor to fight against INTERFET.
However, when INTERFET -- when the Indonesian army had agreed that
force could withdraw from West Timor so, we were told that they changed
their objective, their aim. And so their aim became to actually hunt all
the East Timorese in Jakarta, Bandung, Selatega (ph), Denpassar and
Surabaya. So to target all of them.
We were also told that this is, this
is their plan. To actually, they called it clean up operation, to clean up
all East Timorese in Indonesia.
And when I was there I was actually
worried myself because I am also a member of the CNRT, and we were
evacuating nearly all the CNRT leadership, but I was still there. And one
of the Timorese people who has contacts, links with the Indonesians, I
asked him, have we got -- the plan was to be taken place from 17 of
September onwards because they were planning when the multinational forces
landed in East Timor, that's when they all started the operation in
another parts of Indonesia.
So I was asking him, what was his analysis of
the situation? Do we really have enough time or not to plan my own exiting
of the country? And he said, look, no. As soon as their forces land, it
will be dangerous. Just keep low. However, we may still have some time.
However, no Timoree should be hanging around in Indonesia from the end of
October onwards, before the MPR, the decision.
I asked why. He said, well,
because they're going to clean up. However, before they clean us up they
will clean up the other people, their own people, people inside the house.
I didn't understand what that meant, and later on I got a list of people
that they were -- they had a list of people that they were going to kill
first. And on that list the names of people like Francisco Lopes DaCruz,
Relapish (ph), all those pro-integration people, high up, were listed on
that list because they just knew too much.
And that was after Mrs. Mary
Robinson had visited Jakarta and spoke about this business about
international war crime. And when she announced that, we were told that
the military had a secret meeting, and that's when this list was drawn up
to clean up the East Timorese who knew too much. Now if you ask me where
are the East Timorese, you will find out that quite a few of them, at
least Francisco Lopes, Louis Lopes (ph) and Clementine Amaral (ph),
are already out of the country. Because they access this information and
they went out. And these are pro-integration people.
people, it's taken for granted that they will be cleaned up. On the 16th
of September, three were killed in Jakarta itself. Three workers. Now they
don't spare anybody. I met one of the young boys. His name was Julio (ph)
and we call him Julio Junel (ph) of the lost generation because he was one
of those Timorese who went back in in the early '70s, or should I say late
'70s. They took them out to Indonesia and they were brought up as
Indonesians. And so they don't know their parents, they don't know their
families. And around the voting time we found all these Timorese, and they
were all brought back for the voting. And they actually joined the
pro-independence group. So Julio's (ph) house was ransacked. And so now
Julio (ph) is actually living in hiding.
And when his house was ransacked,
they left threatening notes to say that if you don't leave, we will drop a
grenade into your house. And these are people like Julio (ph) who actually
live there for the last 20 years, and, well, led very much Indonesian
lifestyle. Julio (ph) is even a Muslim.
In Jakarta we used some embassies
to actually escort our people to the immigration point so that we can
actually get out of the immigration without being stopped and face
problems. I myself was escorted out by an embassy there. And the problem
is that the embassies are also being not yet targeted but noticeable. So
some of these embassies have already asked us and said, look, we can't
keep carrying on helping you, because otherwise we'll be noticeable.
You'll have to share, you know, go to other embassies and ask the other
embassies to take your people, out because they will notice.
example, there's still an embassy in Jakarta, we can't even access that
because apart from the demonstrations in front of the embassy, there are
some militia people, plus the police just hanging around there to identify
which Timorese are coming with passports to visas to get out. One day
while I was actually trying to get some people out of the country, I send
this boy to the embassy, and I wasn't even aware of this -- of what was
And the poor boy, he actually delivered the passports to the
embassy but then had to actually get into a taxi and run because the other
guys actually came after him. So he had to go around Jakarta for quite
awhile before he made them lose trace of him.
Now this is the situation in
Jakarta. Meanwhile, we also -- because we were there, we're starting to
get phone calls from Timorese all over the -- even outside, abroad, asking
us to locate their families in West Timor. And we started to do that. So
before the 23rd, on the 20th, on the 20th of September, a friend of ours,
a religious person, went and visited West Timor, mainly Kupang, and he
actually sent me a report. I'm just going to read bits and pieces out of
He says here that -- OK -- like for example, "In West Timor, to
obtain protection, shelter and food rations, many families have to pretend
to be related to the militia and pro-integration faction. The city is
teeming with refugees and police and soldiers from East Timor."
PIRES: He says, "In outskirts of Kupang and even further
away, there are refugee camps that are in pitiful conditions. Journalists
are discouraged to enter, and the entrances are swarming with belligerent
men wearing militia-like clothes. Taking pictures is very risky. In some
camps the militia just enter and go around searching for young men and
Timorese leaders during the day and even at night. Members of the militia
and special forces are hunting down persons who can be potential witnesses
in the pending war crimes investigations of the UN. Other Timorese are
also running away from those who are forcing them to join the
So there's all these things happening in East Timor. This
situation is very bad. I won't take any longer so that you can ask any
questions. So, thank you.
SMITH: Thank you, very much, Miss Pires, for your excellent
testimony and for the great work you have been doing. I do have a couple
of questions. And I think we will be getting to a vote very shortly, so
I'll ask one or two and then yield to my colleagues just so that we're
sure to get everyone's questions in.
It just seems to me that there may be
one big subterfuge underway with regards to the militias and trying to
deceive the world as to somehow that there's some indigenous force that
just rose up spontaneously. Where the truth is probably is more accurately
to say that this is an Indonesian orchestrated -- Indonesian army
orchestrated effort very carefully masterminded and planned out going
right to the very top, right to Wiranto. And regrettably, much in the
media, much of the coverage has been somehow this is some local uprising
that just systematically kills people.
Your comments, Mr. Nairn, about the
-- and I did ask the administration witnesses earlier. We had invited a
Department of Defense spokesman and assistant secretary and for whatever
reason, they were unable to be here. We will reinvite them to ask very
specific questions. And I did read to Secretary Cohen and to Secretary
Taft, excerpts from your Nation Magazine where you pointed out that Blair,
rather than telling Wiranto to shut the militias down, instead offered him
a series of promises of new U.S. assistance. And you just added to that
talking about Clemins and the July 14th meeting.
Hopefully, that whole
game, that brinksmanship will be put to an end soon, if not today. And we
will see that it's the Indonesian military, first, second and last that
has been a part of this. And the day they want to turn off the killing
fields, it will happen. And it suggests, I think, to all of us, and maybe
you want to respond to this, that we need to be much more aggressive in
cutting of IMF loans, cutting off any kind of assistance of any kind and
absolutely cutting off military assistance until all of the abusers of
human rights and killers and murderers, whether it be in Kopassus or
anywhere else, are vetted and held to account and justice meted out to
Perhaps you would want to speak to that. Any of our witnesses, Mr.
KOHEN: I would like to say that Bishop Belo issued about 10 or
15 warnings in this year alone. One after another they were transmitted
through church wire services. They were transmitted to the Congress. And
each and every one of them was ignored. He would say time and again, you
have to tell the Pentagon, have the bishops, the American bishops tell the
Pentagon. They would tell the Pentagon, the Pentagon would come back with
some nonsensical story.
Really at this stage of the game, there is a
pattern. And the pattern is, is that the Indonesian military felt that
what they would do would be without any consequence. And what we're seeing
now is the chickens really coming home to roost. And it's very sad, but
the only way that this could be stopped is if they understand that this is
going to cost them. And it's going to cost them big time.
NAIRN: Yes, I completely agree with that. And I think you're
absolutely right, Mr. Chairman, that this is entirely controlled from the
top. Two weeks ago when I was arrested by the military on the streets of
Dili, I was held at the KOREM military headquarters, that's the main
occupation headquarters for all of East Timor -- the headquarters of
General Kiki Syahnakri, the head of the -- it's called the Committee for
the Restoration of Peace and Stability, that's the -- was the martial law
authority in Timor. And the entire back half of the base was filled with
uniformed Aitarak militiamen, with their black Aitarak T-shirts and their
red and white headbands. You'd see them leaving the KOREM base on their
motorcycles and their trucks holding their rifles and pistols to go out
and stage their attacks.
And I asked one of the -- my interrogators there,
Lieutenant Colonel Willem: Are those Aitarak guys in the back there? And
he said: Oh yes, they live here. They work out of here. We have them here
so we can control them, he said. And they do indeed. I was later brought
over to Polda for interrogation, that's the main Dili police headquarters.
And at Polda it was the same story. In the operations room and the
intelligence room, you'd see the uniformed Aitarak men going in and out.
That was where they worked out of.
And then the following day when they
flew me back to West Timor for further interrogation, it was on a military
charter. And aside from my two military escorts, the rest of those on the
plane were uniformed militias, some of whom I recognized from the streets
of Dili as being some of the most threatening characters. And they were
holding -- they had their guns, their rifles on the plane.
But these were
actually all members of police intelligence. My military escorts explained
to me that they were being rotated back after having served their one-year
tour. These were the militiamen.
And incidentally, you know, for those who
say that Wiranto does not have control, that's nonsense. The only official
under the current organizational structure, the only official to whom both
the military and police report is Wiranto. And there's been extensive both
military and police involvement in running these militias. And only a
total cut-off will send the strong message.
SMITH: Again, I think it should be stressed in the strongest
terms, this subcommittee, and particularly this chairman, has tried
repeatedly to (A) get information from the Pentagon. We have written
extensive five, six page letters, single spaced, to the Pentagon and
gotten back zilch in terms of the questions that we've raised. When we do
get answers back they are not all that enlightening. And the Pentagon does
answer to a chain of command and that goes right to the White House; that
goes right to the commander-in-chief. I mean, we do have a chain of
command and Congress appropriates money and authorizes programs, as we all
know, and exercises oversight. But the clear line of authority goes to the
Now if, you know, Blair and Clemins and all of these others,
on whose behalf are they carrying these messages? -- the President of the
United States? Secretary Cohen? We need to know where the ball -- or where
the buck stops here as well.
As you said, Wiranto certainly can say yes or
no to these activities. Well, how much complicity do we have? How many
mistakes have we made as a country with regards to this? Mr. Koh?
KOHEN: One important point -- I was told by someone on the
Senate side the other day that as they were considering this bill in the
Foreign Relations Committee, there was someone from the Defense Department
going around talking about sea lanes, how important Indonesia is. And
granted, they are. The notion that the Indonesians can prevent the United
States of America -- prevent our fleet from using those sea lanes is
absolutely ludicrous. I mean this is something that is told people who
don't know anything and just get scared very easily by, you know, the
slightest bit of information that seems to be wrapped in national security
terms. The fact of the matter is is the Indonesian military has to be told
in no uncertain terms by our military, this behavior is unacceptable and
it has to be cleaned up completely and totally.
The notion that they would
even try to engage the United States of America -- try to stop us from
using those sea lanes -- is so ludicrous as to be unimaginable.
SMITH: You know, it seems to me -- and I appreciate that insight
-- the moral equivalent with Wiranto and the Indonesia military is like us
aiding and abetting Milosevic and the Bosnian Serbs -- Milosevic.. So
there needs to be an accountability and that's where the War Crimes
Tribunal -- and going wherever those leads may take one to hold account
those who have killed.
KOHEN: What really scared me was the week that the Carrascalao
house, the Liquicia massacre took place, then the Carrascalao house
was hit in Dili at the time that the Irish foreign minister was there. A
lot of people were killed. Manuel Carrascalao's son, who I happened
to have met when I was there in March, who was basically an aid worker. He
was an 18 year old kid. He was killed and they dismembered him in a way as
sending a message to Manuel Carrascalao and to former governor of East
Timor, Mario Carrascalao who had been the Indonesian governor, that I
guess you people are turncoats. You're going to pay for this.
What scared me is this was the height of the war in Kosovo. And at the
very moment that the Pentagon was talking about humanitarian
considerations in Kosovo, they were effectively backing these people in
East Timor. Now I think -- I really was worried about that. Because I said
that type of signal seems to say to the Indonesians that they're living on
a different planet than Milosevic; that whatever they do, fine and dandy.
Milosevic is just in another world.
DELAHUNT: Would the chairman yield?
SMITH: I'll be happy to yield.
DELAHUNT: I find this testimony astounding, absolutely
astounding. And I would encourage the chair of the subcommittee to
communicate with the Department of Defense in a way that is very clear and
unequivocal. And I know -- I speak for myself as one member -- that I'd be
happy to, you know, sign a letter requesting that members of the
Department of Defense come forward and explain themselves. I think that's
absolutely essential given what we've heard here today.
FALEOMAVAEGA: Will the chairman yield?
SMITH: I agree, Mr. Delahunt. Mr. Faleomavaega.
FALEOMAVAEGA: I want to associate myself with the statements
made earlier by my good friend from Massachusetts. A petition, a letter or
even a subpoena to have officials of the Department of Defense to come and
testify about what we've just heard from these gentlemen and our good
friend, the lady, Miss Perez. I'm going to reserve my time -- when my time
for questions, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
DELAHUNT: May I have ...
SMITH: Continue to yield.
DELAHUNT: ... and I think it's very important not just to have
Mr. Kohen here. But I think it is incumbent upon the United States
government to bring before Congress those Army personnel or from whatever
branch they may be who are -- who have served, who have been in those
camps so that they can be inquired of as to what they observed. Because as
I said earlier, I think you heard my remarks, Mr. Smith, you know, this is
deja vu all over again, as Yogi said. And I don't think that we want to
have on our hands the responsibility of being criticized in a report that
was done under the aegis of the United Nations that demonstrated in rather
very clear terms that the genocide that occurred in Colombia, we did
nothing about. And I'm very, very concerned about what I've heard here
SMITH: Just reclaiming my time -- and I appreciate the
gentleman's comments. And just to reiterate for the record, we did invite
the Department of Defense to be here. We wanted to ask a series of very
specific questions of them. And we will do so and re- invite them to give
an account. And in the past, our efforts have been unavailing. And it has
been bipartisan. Cynthia McKinney and I have tried repeatedly to get this
information of collusion with Kopassus, training, urban guerrilla warfare.
We were raising issues when Indonesians were being killed in Jakarta. And
I went over there, along with Mr. Reese within days, within the same week
that Suharto passed the baton, however involuntarily, to Habibie, and
raised these questions with the military command, with our own, Stapleton
Roy who was then our ambassador, and a number of others, including Habibie.
So it is a major, major problem and we've got to get to the bottom of this
NAIRN: Mr. Chairman, I think Mr. Delahunt's suggestion is very
important. If you could actually get some of the uniformed officers here
and question them under oath. The only response I know of was Admiral
Blair did do a Pentagon press briefing and he was asked specifically by
the press about my Nation article and about the cables and so on. And if
you read the transcript, he did not -- he didn't deny anything. He didn't
deny the authenticity of the cables. He just, in essence, said: Well
everything I do is consistent. My message is always consistent. And he
referred to his conversation with Wiranto as a private conversation.
it's not private. He was there representing the U.S. public, the U.S.
taxpayers. And there's the full transcript of the discussion in the cables
that you can look at. I think he was probably correct in saying he's
consistent. But the problem is the message is consistently a bad one in
terms of ...
SMITH: To the best of your knowledge, were Blair's promises to
Wiranto conditional? You know, if you back off, if you get out of there,
we'll give you more. Or did he just lay it out?
NAIRN: They weren't conditional on shutting down the militias. I
can search for the exact language. It was something to the effect of:
Well, we expect that you'll continue to make progress toward democracy in
Indonesia -- that kind of thing. But he at no point, even though the State
Department had urged him to do this, said you must shut down the militias.
This was two days after Liquica.
He didn't even raise Liquica.
I mean you
could not have had a more graphic, shocking moment. He later had a
follow-up phone conversation with Wiranto because people at the State
Department were so upset. They sent an eyes-only cable to Jakarta saying,
you know, this has to be corrected. And the same thing happened in the
phone conversation. And that phone conversation was then immediately
followed by the Dili rampage, the attack on the Carrascalao house and so
One point I want to make about the constant Pentagon argument. The
argument for training is: Well, when you train officers it gives you
access to them. It teaches them good values and so on. Those arguments are
summarized in this cable. This is a cable from Ambassador Roy to CINCPAC.
This happens to be a '96 cable. And I'll give it to the committee and I
would urge the committee to study it.
FALAMAVAEGA: Mr. Chairman, will that be made part of the record?
I'd like to request ...
SMITH: I have to ask a question here. I'm sorry. Is that an
NAIRN: Yes it is. This one is unclassified.
SMITH: OK. OK. We can take unclassified things into the record.
NAIRN: OK. He makes all the arguments about how when we train
officers, they get good values. They rise in the ranks. And then to clinch
the argument, it cites examples of the best and the brightest of the
Indonesian officers who've been trained by the U.S.
These are the examples
they cited. General Feisal Tanjung, who became the commander-in-chief of
the Indonesian armed forces, one of the most notorious hardline,
repressive officers; [Lt.] General Hendropriyono, one of the legendary
authors of repression in Indonesia, who was involved in Aceh. He's the man
who commanded Operation Cleanup in Jakarta prior to the '94 APEC [Asia
Pacific Economic Summit]. This was the operation in which they swept
through the streets, picked up street vendors, petty criminals,
prostitutes; executed many of them, according to human rights groups.
Colonel Sihombing, a long-time Intel man who became deputy chief of the
secret police; Major General Agus Wirahadikusumah who has a less egregious
human rights record than the others. His main distinction is he's bought a
lot of U.S. weapons for the Indonesian military.
And then their final example of the best and the brightest was General
Prabowo, the most notorious of all the Indonesian officers; also one of
the most extensively U.S.-trained officers, famous for his personal
participation in torture in Timor, West Papua, Aceh; for the kidnappings
last year in Jakarta. And well, I'll let you read what they say about
But these are the examples they use to say that when we do training,
these officers become instrument of U.S. policy. I take them at their word
when they say that. The problem is it's the wrong policy. And the careers
of these men that they have chosen illustrate that.
SMITH: Thank you very much. And I'm looking forward to reading
that cable because -- and it will be made a part of the record. Miss
MCKINNEY: Yes, I think we all are looking forward to reading the
cable. I just find it outrageous that we can have witnesses come from East
Timor and Australia and we can't get the DOD to come across the street to
respond to these very important questions.
MCKINNEY: But this is not unlike a similar situation that I
experienced when we tried to hold a hearing on Rwanda, one million people
dead, and the State Department -- we had witnesses come from Africa, come
from Asia, but the State Department couldn't come across town to testify
either. Everybody clams up when they -- when we start asking questions
that nobody wants to answer. It's no wonder that this government would be
against the international criminal court because they'd be perpetual
defendants at it. There is an evil strain in our international conduct.
From assassination to destabilization to fomenting war, that's our legacy
around the world. Particularly with people of color, there's an evil
strain in our conduct. The American people don't even know what is
happening and Congress is lied to.
Now I'm wondering how high up does this
go? Who is the one that's giving Blair and Clemens their orders? Is it
directly from the White House?
I'm also wondering if we got witnesses from
the administration to come here on this particular issue. We have State
Department tell us one thing. DOD tell us another thing. They can come
here and tell us just about anything unless they are compelled to tell the
truth, and there's a penalty for them lying to us. So under what
circumstances can we get them here with a penalty if they don't tell us
SMITH: You asking me?
SMITH: OK. The full committee has the power to issue subpoenas,
although we could do it as well. We could put witnesses under oath and
there would be a -- obviously a penalty if they lied under oath.
has been the problem in the past is that we had evasive answers or no
shows. And again we get excuses. Sometimes they're plausible as to why
they couldn't be here. For example, DOD suggested that they're all very
busy away at Secretary Cohen's trip to Indonesia as we speak. So, I mean,
there's some plausibility to that...
MCKINNEY: Heck, we don't even know what message he's going to be
delivering when he gets there.
SMITH: But it has been an ongoing stall to this subcommittee
with regards to the training of Kopassus. And again Mr. Nairn's writings
previously which I used and circulated to embassy officials in Jakarta --
U.S. embassy officials -- was met with eyes open by several of the people,
but the military attache and others it was like nonsense.
MCKINNEY: Mr. Chairman.
SMITH: So it's very, very troubling and beguiling.
MCKINNEY: Mr. Chairman, we through the work of these witnesses
have some very real evidence. And I don't think we need to let that
administration off the hook on this one. I think we need to do anything
and everything that's within our power to get to the bottom of what's
SMITH: But you might recall, if the gentle lady would yield,
Secretary Taft earlier in this hearing suggested that we write up our
question and submit it to the Department of Defense. Secretary Taft has a
very responsible, very strategic position as head of PRM, and Secretary
Koh as the Clinton point person for the democracy, labor and human rights.
I mean these are very responsible people.
They should know, they should
want to know, and should want to get to the bottom of any complicity,
inclusion with the Indonesian military themselves. U
UNKNOWN: I feel compelled to read into the record something from
"U.S. News and World Report" last week because the question was,
how high up does this go in our government?
UNKNOWN: Now I'm reading to you from the bottom of this piece.
"While acknowledging the danger of more massacres, President Clinton
dismissed comparisons with 1994's genocide in Rwanda." In East Timor
he said, and I quote, "Not everybody has a machete." Unquote.
And it says here at the end of the "U.S. News Report" here.
"For those who have already felt the blade's edge and for those who
will be cut down in the days to come, that thought is cold comfort."
Now the kind of language that was used from the beginning, Sandy Berger
comparing this to his daughter's messy college room. President Clinton
saying not everybody has a machete. These are two of the top men -- I mean
these are the two top national security officials in this administration.
So where does the buck stop?
MCKINNEY: Obviously it stops with them.
UNKNOWN: I mean, this is the kind of language they're using, and
you know, this is the tone that's being set.
UNKNOWN: My understanding of the political role the White House
plays in this is for years the Pentagon and the State Department and the
CIA were unanimous in lockstep in supporting Suharto and supporting the
Indonesian Army. It was a very deep institutional commitment from all of
them. Then after the '91 daily massacre as public pressure increased and
as Congress and many of you remembers here, got involved in the issue,
there were some changes in U.S. policy; There were various weapons
cut-offs, various training cut- offs.
Within the past say six to eight
months, that pressure from Congress finally did start to effect State
Department policy. Better late then never but it did. Some people like
Ambassador Roy were quite resistant. He remained one of the line Suharto
Obrey (ph) supporters. But others in the State Department did start to
The Pentagon, however, has continued to pursue the old line. And
so therefore you have incidents like Admiral Blair just sloughing off the
State Department's directive to him -- policy directive, tell Wiranto to
shut down the militias.
I think the White House role in this is that of
course in the American system, as opposed to the Indonesian system where
Habibie is completely powerless to stop the militias if he wants to. I
think Habibie would like to stop the militia but he's only the president
of Indonesia. And Wiranto is the one who holds the strings. Here the
president is in charge. And if Clinton wanted to, he could bring Admiral
Blair and Admiral Clemins into line in a second. But he sees this and
chooses to let it play out.
It's a familiar -- you know, we've seen it in
many other places, a two-track policy. Where on one track the public
admonitions, all those great words, from the State Department,
occasionally from the White House itself. But on the other, the Pentagon
going in and doing business with the training and the weapons and the so
on and that's, you know, Clinton's and Berger's decision in the end. And
they have to be held -- and they have to be held accountable for that.
first it has to be exposed, so people have to -- because there's a false
debate going on now. This diversionary debate where people are saying,
well, was Clinton too slow to act in backing international peacekeeping
force? Should we do more to intervene? That's not the issue here.
not a case like Milosevic. When you talk about Milosevic, you're not
talking about someone whose killers are armed and trained and financed
from Washington. Milosevic, he got his backing out of Moscow and other
places. It wasn't -- you can't blame the Pentagon and the CIA and the
State Department for Milosevic, at least in terms of backing his killer
forces. But you can in the case of Indonesia.
It's not a question of the
U.S. failing to intervene, it's a question of the U.S. all along having
intervened and continuing to intervene on the wrong side, backing the
And that's an entirely different matter and we have to be
clear about that. Because it's much worse but it's also much easier to
stop. You don't have to invade Jakarta. All you have to do is pull the
KOHEN: One thing of relevance as this is the Human Rights
Subcommittee, very important. In June of 1997 Bishop Belo met with
President Clinton and Sandy Berger in Sandy Berger's office. President
Clinton said: We will try to be more helpful. Bishop Belo was happy about
that meeting. When he got back to East Timor, within a couple of weeks of
that return to East Timor, near the Selatan training school in the eastern
part of the territory, there were a number of young people that were
And Bishop Belo said specifically: Please tell the White House
about this. I did convey this information to the White House in writing. I
also conveyed it to Congressman Frank Wolf and Tony Hall who are very
involved in this. Frank Wolf wrote a number of letters to the White House
about this situation. And people in the White House basically said to me:
What is there to this Wolf, these Wolf allegations?
And the indication
that I had is they never did anything about it themselves. They were more
concerned about Frank Wolf's letter and his persistence then they were
about the specific allegations.
I went back to Bishop Belo about this
information. Of course other things had taken place in the interim. It
wasn't entirely clear what had taken place, but what we did know is that a
lot of people had been picked up during that period. This is in the first
couple of chapters in my book. It's very, very disturbing when you have
the situation where they're more interested in trying to prove a dedicated
man like Frank Wolf wrong, or Tony Hall wrong, because they were partners
in all this -- this is bipartisan. This is not a partisan issue -- that
they're more concerned with that then they are about pursuing human rights
MCKINNEY: Mr. Chairman, I will allow the other members to ask
their questions, but I do want to register my outrage and I don't know how
to do it but.
SMITH: You're doing it.
MCKINNEY: I want to do it on the record.
SMITH: Again, this will part of the series of hearings. This is
not the end of it. We will continue this inquiry very aggressively. Mr.
FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do have some questions,
but certainly I would first like to commend our speakers or witnesses this
afternoon for their very eloquent and profound statements.
interested initially to hear from Mr. Kumar giving a sense of historical
perspective about what had happened to the good people of East Timor. And
I guess I seem to be the only one that always seems to be knocking on the
door when I've always equate East Timor with West Papua, New Guinea.
the simple reason that these people at the expense of 100,000 West Papuans
that were murdered and slaughtered by the Indonesian army in 1963 under
Sukarno. And then when Suharto came into power under the coup that was in
'65 proclaiming that they needed to get rid of the communists -- I think
there were approximately three million people in Indonesia as communists
But at the expense also of killing genocide, murdering over 100s of
1000s of Chinese, and another half a million Indonesians that were also
murdered and slaughtered in the name of getting rid of communism. But then
in '69 the most infamous act ever taken by the United Nations to recognize
the military occupation of Indonesia of West Papua, by getting only 1,000
people the barrel of a gun to their heads, say, yes we vote in favor on
behalf of 800,000 West Papua to associate ourselves with Indonesia.
another military occupation which happens to be then in '75, East Timor.
So for 25 years, Mr. Chairman, and our good friends here, our association
militarily are the Department of Defense and the Indonesian military, as
is indicated by Mr. Nairn's most interesting account of some of the things
that go on, it isn't just something that has happened just two years ago.
This has been from the very beginning since '70, or even earlier in the
'60s. Why? Because our number foreign policy was, get rid of the
communists, containment, the domino theory, you all heard of that, Mr.
Chairman. So now after the fall of the Soviet Union empire, we find
ourselves in the situation with a posse that continues, and yet we
continue to support military dictators in Suharto and Sukarno. No
different then what we've done to Somoza.
And by the way, I understand
Somoza was educated at West Point Military Academy. So what else is new?
We've been doing this for years.
And it's interesting, and I commend you,
Mr. Chairman, for taking the leadership and doing this. And I want to ask
a question to my friends here. It's always a cop out, as a scapegoat, if I
didn't want -- if I do not want to be involved with another country's
problems, our foreign policy would be: Oh, that is an internal matter in
the sovereignty of that country to take care that we really have no
business in getting ourselves involved in.
And I'll bet you that was
probably one of our main pillars of our policy towards Indonesia. It's an
internal matter when you're taking about Atjeh, or East Timor or even West
Papua, New Guinea. Because that is really an internal matter.
Now I wanted
to ask our friends here, at what point does our government then change the
policy say, it's no longer an internal matter belonging to that country,
we've got to do something about it?
Do you think East Timor is a good
example to change that internal matter policy, which I think is hypocrisy
for us not willing to take up responsibility? I was just wondering.
NAIRN: Well, East Timor is a special case since Timor was
recognized by the United Nations as a separate territory which was
illegally invaded by Indonesia. Invasion was in defiance of two security
counsel resolutions. The U.S. had blocked enforcement as resolutions. As
you said, the U.N. played a very shameful role in West Papua and so
legally did recognize the annexation there in a way it wasn't done for
But that whole argument they make with it's an internal matter, it's an
irrelevant argument because the U.S. is already involved with the
Indonesian military. Through the IMET program, more then 3000 officers
were trained. At one point through the '80s and early '90s, a majority of
the senior staff officers in the Indonesian army had been U.S.-trained.
The logistics of the Indonesian army are organized entirely along
U.S.-Pentagon lines. It's U.S. military contractors who've given them the
electronics and the surveillance equipment. It goes on and on.
already in involved. Involved on the side of that repressive military.
FALEOMAVAEGA: Do you have any figures...
SMITH: Will my friend yield?
FALEOMAVAEGO: I'm sorry, go ahead.
SMITH: I would ask Mr. Faleomavaega if he could take the chair.
Mr. Delahunt and I, all of us, we have back to back votes and it's
probably another 25 minutes or so. If you would take this chair and ask
whatever questions you have but if we could yield to Mr. Delahunt now so
he doesn't lose his opportunity. And then you come back...
DELAHUNT: And I'll be very brief. I think that, Mr. Nairn,
you're on the mark. I have to tell you what today has really done is
raised my concerns. Not just about Timor. This goes far beyond East Timor.
This is about programs like IMET, which I'm sure we have supported.
what I'm hearing is that we've had this ongoing relationship with the
Indonesian military. But what are we teaching them? What does the training
It sounds to me like we're not even putting forth democratic
values, human rights. Those issues seem to be absent from that training.
Are we just simply teaching them how to shoot guns? Is that what is
NAIRN: Well, in some of the courses they do have human rights
units where they say: Well, you shouldn't kill civilians. You should
respond to civilian authority. But the thing is, when the officer is being
trained are members of a military dictatorship which survives through
oppression and which has an institutional policy of oppression, it doesn't
matter what human rights platitudes you tell them, because they are
officers. They are trained to follow orders.
And the more professional you
make them, the more skillful and able you make them at the job, their
jobs, the worse you make the situation because they are from an
institution that has a bad mission in the first place.
DELAHUNT: I understand that, and it's become, you know, very
One quick question for Miss Pires. You testified earlier about East
Timor -- folks in East Timor who are in grave danger elsewhere in
Indonesia. Have you communicated this to the U.S. government? Have you
given names? Have you submitted names to any -- you know, any division or
branch of the executive?
PIRES: In here? In America?
DELAHUNT: In America.
PIRES: No. We've given it to the United Nations.
DELAHUNT: I would suggest respectfully that you provide the
chair of this subcommittee a list of those individuals, and I'm sure the
Chairman would, you know, along with other members on the committee,
forward that to the appropriate agency so that we can be of maybe some
value in terms of securing their personal safety.
DELAHUNT: And I think obviously that should happen rather
But again, let me say thank you to all of you. Your testimony was
very informative. And I think particularly, you Mr. Nairn, since you've
had the experience and was there as a first-hand observer, that really
DELAHUNT: And you know, 99.9 percent of the time when we hear
witnesses it's double, triple hearsay, and out of fairness we have to
question the validity, if you will, of that hearsay. But in your case, you
saw it and you saw it first hand. And I think that you have done a great
service to your country today. Thank you.
FALEOMAVAEGA: I thank my good friend from Massachusetts for his
questions and statement. You know we have all kinds of opinions about the
media, but sometimes I can also say thank god for the fourth branch of
government. Sometimes the legislative and the executive branches seem to
have failed in their responsibilities. And to have Mr. Nairn, Mr. Kohen
and Mr. Kumar and Miss Pires this afternoon in giving their testimony has
been a real education for the members of this committee.
One of the
questions that was raised earlier concerning Mr. Gusmao and Mr. Horta's
statements, they categorized these refugee camps as concentration camps.
And somehow I seem to be getting a different indication from our friends
in the State Department; they keep calling them refugee camps. Now you and
I know what a concentration camp is. And then maybe, Miss Pires, if you
could give -- maybe elaborate a little further the difference.
sense of what a refugee camp is that you have the humanitarian
organizations from all over the world, the NGO's pitching in and helping
out. Concentration camp is literally like what we remember of the
Holocaust. And if that is the kind of status that these refugees are
currently living under that we really are not doing our part as far as the
officials of our government is concerned. Mr. Koh from the State
Department is going to be going there a couple of days, why they've been
going back and forth. There seems to be a lot of shuffling plane rides and
a lot of paperwork, but I'm not hearing a greater sense of commitment and
responsibility on what to do with the militias that are watching these
so-called refugee camps. Can you comment on that, Miss Pires?
PIRES: Yes, my leaders arrived. Our people in there are hostage,
really. They have been forced to go into West Timor. And even now, I
omitted to say that last night when I was speaking to my colleague in
Jakarta, she was telling me that now, when they distribute rice, this is
for the people there, they are given two types of cards, one red, one
blue. The blue card are for those Timorese that have to say that they want
to stay in Indonesia, stay, become transmigrant. And the red card is for
those that wants to go back home.
But this is in another race to identify those people that don't want to
be there. Because originally the plan, the Indonesian plan, was actually
to show to the world that more than 200,000 people were supposed to have
been voting for pro-autonomy. So that's why they forced all these people
to go to -- into West Timor, at gunpoint.
I'm not sure -- I didn't catch
the early session when my leaders were speaking, but when they -- someone
already mentioned that they killed a nun and a priest in Bacau -- within
Bacau and Los Palos, at the same time they found in the eastern side of
East Timor, in the coal area, 5,000 of our population, about to be forced
into the boats to go to West Timor. And that was found by INTERFET. And
that was as recent as three days ago when they killed the nun.
FALEOMAVAEGA: So 5,000 East Timorese are forced to get on
this vessel or this boat to be shipped to West Timor.
FALEOMAVAEGA: And no one makes any reports or any accounts of
this as to the status as to what happens, separation from family members.
Just another total blank in the dark.
PIRES: Yes. And so the people in West Timor, according to the
friend of mine -- the religious person that went into West Timor, there
were camps that you could not access. Some camps you can access, other
camps you can't access; it's closed for you. And there were camps
controlled by the government and they made it in such a way for visitors.
So that when you go there and visit, you think it's OK, you know, that the
people are -- they have food, they have water. But other camps, no food,
no sanitation, nothing -- really bad conditions.
And people are -- we've
had contacts with some of our people in there, and they have -- they're
just waiting for help from international community. When I came out from
Jakarta, the international community was not accessing those camps.
Yesterday, when I was at the World Bank meeting, UNPD -- a member of UNPD
said that they were about to go into West Timor. And then I asked, do you
know how many camps there are? Are you going to access all of them? They
FALEOMAVAEGA: About how many East Timorese live in Jakarta
PIRES: At the moment, our list that is in Jakarta and other
FALEOMAVAEGA: Or just in the island of Java or other
places outside of East Timor.
PIRES: Like other places outside of East Timor and West Timor,
PIRES: We had a list of 3,500 and that's recruited on with us,
OK. By now there should be more because some that are -- they are trying
to manage to escape from West Timor.
FALEOMAVAEGA: It's my understanding that the top corporate and
business leaders currently that have the -- a lot of the wealth in East
Timor are also former military officers of the Indonesian army. Is that
NAIRN: Well, Mr. Chairman, there was an estimate recently that
about 40 percent of the land in Timor is controlled by the Suharto family
and enterprises linked to that family. One of those investors in some of
these Suharto enterprises is Colonel Tono Suratman, until recently the
military commander for Timor.
But that said, especially now, now that
they've burnt the place down, there isn't a whole lot of wealth in Timor.
It's been more of a killing field than a place of business. And as the
Indonesian military exited, they made a point of destroying whatever they
There was a confidential memo that leaked about two months ago now
out of the office of General Feisal Tanjung. Tanjung is one of those IMET
best and brightest that I mentioned. He's currently the minister for
politics and security in the Habibie/Wiranto government. His ministry is
in charge of coordinating the activities of other ministries to bring them
in line with army policy.
And in this memo they described a plan for what
they would do with Timor if they lost the election. And one of the points
was: Destroy key facilities on our way out.
FALEOMAVAEGA: And that's exactly what happened.
NAIRN: And they've done that to say the least. I mean Dili --
it's -- if you're someone who knows Dili and you go back now, it is
absolutely shocking. The entire central business district is burnt to the
ground and entire neighborhoods are vacant. You know, the diocese, the
ICRC, the bishop's house, to go on, it's just an astonishing scene.
know on the relocations, refugees is certainly not the correct term, I
think, for the vast majority. Starting in the lead up to the announcement
of the vote results, there were systematic operations where uniformed
police, uniformed blue mob, uniformed army infantry and uniformed militias
would go house to house and tell people, OK, you're moving. You're moving
to Kupang, you're moving to Atambua, you're moving wherever we choose to
take you. And they were just forced out of their homes, put on trucks and
boats and taken away.
FALEOMAVAEGA: I'm sorry I don't have any candy to give you.
NAIRN: When I was in -- being questioned at Polda, the police
headquarters, it was kind of a chaotic scene there because they were
getting ready to shut down and withdraw from Timor. And they were burning
many of their documents. In the midst of that was able to see a police
intelligence document which described an operation called Hanuin (ph) Loro
(ph) Sidua (ph), in which they laid out in detail how they would round up
and relocate Timorese.
This document, which was written about two weeks ago now, gave a
precise figure. It said 323,564 Timorese, that's nearly 40 percent of the
population, had been relocated pursuant to this program.
FALEOMAVAEGA: What's the total number of the Indonesian military
forces, army, navy, air force, combined? Any figures on that?
NAIRN: There's in the range 20 to 30,000 running in that
NAIRN: In East Timor, yes.
FALEOMAVAEGA: No, I mean nationwide.
NAIRN: Oh, all of Indonesia.
FALEOMAVAEGA: All of -- yes, the entire Indonesian army, what
are we looking at? I'm sorry, Mr. Nairn. Mr. Kohen, go ahead.
KOHEN: I'm going to take over here. Congressman, as long as you
mentioned this about the economic end of things, I mean when people are
suffering it may sound ridiculous but I saw something in "Business
Week," I think, the other day saying that there is currently a coffee
crop worth about $100 million, most of which goes to Starbucks here. It
was actually one decent program for USAID, where the East Timor coffee has
been bought for higher prices from local farmers and ends up in Starbucks.
It's quite good quality stuff. And anyone that's been to Timor knows this
is some of the best in the world.
What it said in "Business
Week," however, is that this coffee is not going to be picked this
year because these militias are running around, the military are running
around. Really out of spite, it's nothing else, to try to stop it from
happening. And I know if I were a member of Congress, I would ask some
very hard questions about why this USAID-funded project is suddenly being
sabotaged by these very people that we're aiding with U.S. military aid. I
mean this is one thing that should be on the table right now so that at
least the Timorese have something there to get back on their feet with.
FALEOMAVAEGA: There were recent media reports, and I wanted to
know if this is accurate, that the Suharto family has accumulated a wealth
well over $8 billion of personal wealth in this family and relatives and
the inclusion in all the different businesses that currently go on in --
not just in East Timor but throughout Indonesia. But how would you rank
Indonesia's army as far as it's effectiveness and it's military prowess?
And how would you -- would you say that they're just as good as our army
as far as preparation, fighting soldiers?
KOHEN: That's a very interesting question. I think the best
comment I've heard on that is from Pramoedya, the famous Indonesian
novelist and political prisoner of many years. He recently took a tour of
the United States. He's considered a leading contender for the Nobel Prize
in Literature and really a great cultural voice in Indonesia.
He has made
the comment that if you look at the history of the Indonesian army as a
fighting force, they don't do very well when they have to fight an armed
opponent. In the various confrontations they have had over the years with
outside -- you know, clashes with outside forces, they usually lose. The
Timorese, although it was mainly through political means, defeated the
Indonesian army. I mean, I think if accurate history is written, this will
go down as one of the great victories for the weak over the strong. This
country one 200th the size of Indonesia driving out this army backed from
But what Pramoedya remarked was that, when it comes to
internal repression, there the Indonesian army is extremely
KOHEN: And that is their real business. That is their real
mission, that plus military business.
The Indonesian army is remarkable in
that it's not just a repressive force. There are various repressive armies
around the world, many of which the U.S. has had very close ties with. The
Indonesian army adds an extra dimension in that they also operate in the
sense like an economic mafia. Nobody really knows precisely exactly what
the real military budget in Indonesia is. It is often commented that, in
accounting terms per capita, the Indonesian military budget is rather low.
And it is if you look at what is written on the books.
But estimates say
that anywhere from -- that budget probably understates the real military
funds by anywhere from 30 to 40 to 50 percent, because the army has
hundreds and hundreds of businesses that it runs on its own. Kopassus, for
example. Right outside the Kopassus headquarters in Sijantung (ph), when
you go into the Kopassus headquarters you see this gigantic -- this gate
where they have these two gigantic sculptured knives that meet over the
entrance. And right outside that is this beautiful modern shopping center,
which is owned by Kopassus, it's the Kopassus shopping mall. The other
branches have similar operations. Many of them have criminal extortion
KOHEN: They're very heavy into prostitution rackets, for
A former U.S. military attache acknowledged me that the marines
specialize in running prostitution in many of the Indonesian cities. It's
that kind of Mafia-style operation which is an integral part of Indonesian
FALEOMAVAEGA: Well those are very strong parallel. Very similar
to the People's Republic of China. And its army also has businesses. In
fact it's very, very similar in its operations with the way the Indonesian
KOHEN: That would be probably the closest parallel economically.
Probably the one difference would be that the PRC army is more in a big
business mode in terms of their style, in these vast conglomerates,
whereas as the style of the Indonesian army is more the street
extortionist. And you hear just constant complaints about this from, say,
local people, local merchants. Anyone who is trying to do a honest
business on the street level in Indonesia, you have to contend with the
army shakedowns, it's just part of life.
And if you happen to be ethnic
Chinese, you have the added burden of, when times are tough, and when
there's political tension in the air, the army will often turn on those
very merchants they've been extorting, and will lead the mobs that will go
in and sack the stores and sack the warehouses so they can say: See?
There's tension. The people hate the Chinese. Therefore we need the army
here to protect the Chinese.
FALEOMAVAEGA: I just have one more question. Probably one of the
issues that is debated constantly, not only here in the Congress, but also
in the administration, and this is concerning the sales of military
You know, our country currently ranks number one -- as the
number one seller of military equipment to other countries of the world.
Don't you think there should be a global policy or some way or somehow in
limiting? Because, who happens to be the ones that purchase most of these
military hardware? Third-world countries. whose budgets are very limited
and yet dictators or whatever these governments find themselves, they are
committed in having to buy military rather then trying to make economic --
to meet the economic needs of the given countries.
And I suppose that the
current policy in our government is that, well geez, if we don't sell our
military hardware to these other countries, then the French or the British
or the Russians are going to take over. So, we've got to continue doing
Do you think that some day or somehow that this is ever going to
change the world economically?
KOHEN: Now it's changed a bit regarding the French. And realize
that most of the church in East Timor has been leveled. The French have
taken actually a fairly strong position recently, relative to what they
used to do. I didn't mean to cut off Allan but I think we may be faced
with a rather different situation. There's never been a case like this
where, you know, church buildings wholesale had been knocked down, where
priests and nuns have been killed.
So I think that the position of various
would-be arm salesmen maybe a little different now then before.
NAIRN: And yes, I think its absolutely crucial. And Congress has
to take the lead in this -- the executive branch is never going to do it
on their own -- for the U.S. to stop having the mission of trying to
peddle arms overseas.
The Clinton administration has been notable among
military contractors for being the most vigorous administration in terms
of pushing U.S. weapons overseas. They will all tell you that. They love
the Clinton administration because they have gone to greater lengths then
And as you say in those situations when the U.S. is
pushing these weapons, the best case -- the best you can hope for is that
it's just a waste of money. That some poor country gets their treasury
drained and the weapon just rusts in the warehouse. That's the best case.
The worse case, which often occurs as in Indonesia, is that those weapons
are actually used for internal oppression, or to fuel a regional conflict,
or to otherwise cause actual death. And it's just something that has to be
You know, the rationale for it is always, well, it creates jobs.
But any economist will tell you -- and this is not a controversial
question in economics, but one of the least efficient means of job
creation is this kind of high-tech military weapons investment. If you
really want to create jobs you take that same amount of money and put it
into other kinds of industry, other kinds of service, agriculture,
whatever. Any other channel you put it in you'll end up creating more jobs
Finally, one thing I forgot to mention, and this is very
related to the economic front and this is quite important. It so happens
that today, September 30, is the implementation date for some military
budget transparency legislation that was passed by the Congress three
years ago. This has been under study in the embassy in Jakarta. I don't
think it's gotten any public attention to this date. But what this
legislation says -- well, I'll just read you the relevant section.
says, "Beginning today, September 30, the secretary of the Treasury
will instruct the U.S. executive director of each international financial
institution to use the voice and vote of the U.S. to oppose any loan or
other utilization of the funds of their respective institution other then
to address basic human needs for the government of any country which the
secretary of the Treasury determines, one, does not have in place a
functioning system for reporting to civilian authorities audits of
receipts and expenditures that fund activities of the armed forces and
security forces; two, has not provided to the institution information that
the audit process requested by the institution."
In other words, if a
country's military is not transparent working on a sound accounting basis,
completely accountable to the civilian authorities, then that country
cannot get international financial institution funds. That's what is
mandated. That goes into effect today. There is no way Indonesia can pass
this test, and they've actually been agonizing about this in the embassy
for months. Since it starts today I think it's now time for Congress to
take a look at getting this implemented.
FALEOMAVAEGA: Miss Pires, gentlemen, I know it's been a long
afternoon. I cannot thank you enough for your making the time and the
commitment to come and testify. And I ask unanimous consent that whatever
records or materials or statements that you wish to submit to be made part
of the record it will be so. With no objection. Again, thank you very
much. The hearing is adjourned.
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