Congress Reinstates Ban on Military Training for Indonesia,
Contact: John M. Miller,
Karen Orenstein, 202-544-6911
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2004 - Congress today restored a ban on International
Military Education and Training (IMET) for Indonesia, just months
after President Bush cited a "changed attitude" among legislators
that would permit further military cooperation.
The Consolidated Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2004, H.R.
2673, bans IMET until the State Department determines that the
Indonesian military (TNI) and government are cooperating with the
FBI's investigation into an ambush which killed two U.S. citizens
and an Indonesian in Papua. The Indonesian military is implicated in
the attack in the mining operations area of Louisiana-based
Freeport-McMoRan, which also wounded 11 people, including a
"Congress must carefully monitor the progress of any
investigations and press for credible prosecution and punishment of
those responsible for these killings. The Bush administration has
claimed in the past that the Indonesian military was cooperating
when clearly it was not. Saying there is cooperation won't make it
so," said John M. Miller, spokesperson for the East Timor Action
The bill continues the ban on foreign military financing of
weapons sales and licenses for the export of lethal defense articles
to Indonesia until a range of conditions are met, including
extradition of those indicted by the joint UN-East Timor Serious
Crimes Unit, a public audit of TNI funds, and prosecution of TNI
members "who have been credibly alleged to have committed gross
violations of human rights, or to have aided or abetted militia
groups" and punishment of those found guilty.
"Congress should insist that IMET not be renewed until the
investigation is successfully completed and the perpetrators
punished. I expect Congress to request a detailed justification from
the State Department should it determine that there is genuine
cooperation from the Indonesian government and the armed forces in
respect to the investigation into the August 31, 2002, murders of my
husband Rick Spier, Ted Burgon, and Bambang Riwanto," said Patsy
Spier, a survivor of the attack.
"Congress, after more than a year of TNI's own 'investigation,'
clearly remains disturbed by the lack of progress in resolving these
horrific killings in Papua," said Karen Orenstein, ETAN’s Washington
Coordinator. "History demonstrates that providing training only
emboldens the Indonesian military to violate human rights and block
accountability for past injustices."
While praising the restoration of the IMET ban, ETAN urged
Congress to expand the conditions on resumption of IMET and extend
conditionality to counter-terrorism training.
"Indonesia has yet to fulfill Congressional conditions previously
placed on IMET, including accountability for rights violations in
East Timor and Indonesia and transparency in the military budget,"
said Orenstein. "There is no justification for the removal of these
conditions. Now, a massive military assault is being perpetrated
against the people of Aceh - replete with extra-judicial executions,
torture, rape and displacement - utilizing U.S.-supplied weapons.
All assistance to the Indonesian military must be terminated,
including counter-terrorism assistance."
“The Bush administration is giving the TNI far more assistance
for counter-terrorism than for IMET. But the TNI continues to
terrorize Indonesia’s residents; the military’s human rights record
remains atrocious. The administration chooses to ignore evidence
that the TNI works with the fundamentalist militia Laskar Jihad,
which has caused tremendous conflict in Maluku and now in Papua. Who
are the real terrorists here?” asked Miller.
A 2002 study for the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School noted that
the Indonesian army had become “a major facilitator of terrorism”
due to “the radical Muslim militias they had organized, trained, and
financed.” (Dr. Gaye Christoffersen, “Strategic
Insight: The War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” Center for
Contemporary Conflict, National Security Affairs Department, Naval
Postgraduate School, March, 2002)
The appropriations bill states that,
“The managers remain troubled by the situation in Aceh and the
ongoing conflict that has killed, injured and displaced thousands of
innocent civilians. The managers…continue to believe that this
conflict will only be resolved through a political process.”
Congress first voted to restrict Indonesia from receiving IMET,
which brings foreign military officers to the U.S. for training, in
response to the November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz massacre of more than
270 civilians in East Timor. All military ties with Indonesia were
severed in September 1999 as the Indonesian military and its militia
proxies razed East Timor following its vote for independence.
Congress originally approved $400,000 for IMET in FY03, but
Indonesia's participation in the program was ultimately limited to
Expanded IMET, which involves limited classroom training.
interview prior to his October visit to Indonesia, President
Bush stated, "Congress has changed their attitude" and was ready to
provide further military assistance "because of the cooperation of
the government on the killings of two U.S. citizens."
Department is reported to have
recently placed on its visa watch list the highest-ranking personnel
indicted for crimes against humanity by thejoint UN-East Timor
Special Crimes Unit including former military chief General Wiranto,
a leading presidential candidate in Indonesia. Others on the list
are General Zacky Anwar Makarim, Major-General Kiki Syahnakri,
General Adam Damiri, Colonel Tono Suratman, Colonel Mohammad Noer
Muis, Lt. Colonel Yayat Sudrajat, and former East Timor Governor
Abilio Jose Osorio Soares.
ETAN advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East
Timor and Indonesia. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to
prosecute crimes against humanity that took place in East Timor
since 1975 and continued restrictions on U.S. military assistance to
Indonesia until there is genuine reform of its security forces.
see also U.S.-Indonesia