For Immediate Release
Contact: John M. Miller, ETAN,
Kurt Biddle, IHRN, 510-559-7762
For Immediate Release
U.S. House of Representatives Reiterates "No IMET for Indonesia"
July 24 - For the second time in a week, the U.S. House of
Representatives voted to bar Indonesia from receiving military
training via the prestigious IMET program.
Late last night, the House voted to strip a $600,000
appropriation for International Military Education and Training (IMET)
for fiscal year (FY) 2004. The amendment to the Foreign Operations
Appropriations bill comes as the Bush administration has indicated
its intention to use a controversial FY03 $400,000 appropriation for
IMET for Indonesia.
administration has indicated its intention to use a controversial
FY03 $400,000 appropriation for IMET for Indonesia.
"The administration should not defy Congressional intent to bar
the Indonesian military from IMET," said Kurt Biddle of the
Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN).
“Instead of considering assistance for the Indonesian military,
the administration should take concrete action against
it for its massive human rights violations
in Aceh – including the use of U.S.-supplied weapons, its widespread
impunity for crimes against humanity in East Timor, and its general
trampling on the rights of Indonesian, East Timorese, and U.S.
citizens,” said Karen Orenstein of the East Timor Action
On July 16, the House passed
amendment to the Foreign Relations
Authorization Act for FY04-05 (H.R. 1950) barring Indonesia from
receiving IMET until the President certifies that Indonesia
is "taking effective measures" to fully investigate and criminally
prosecute those responsible for the August 31, 2002 attack on in
Timika, Papua near the mining operations area of the
Louisiana-headquartered Freeport-McMoRan. The ambush killed three
school teachers -- Rick Spier from Colorado, Ted
Burgon of Oregon and an Indonesian, Bambang Riwanto -- and injured
11 others, including a six-year child. Indonesian police and NGO
investigations have strongly implicated the Indonesian military (TNI)
in the attack.
Representative Joel Hefley (R-CO) sponsored
both amendments. Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY), Dennis Kucinich
(D-OH), and Greg Walden (R-OR) spoke in favor of yesterday’s
Foreign Relations Committee passed its own ban on IMET for
Indonesia for FY04 last May.
Legislative rules limited last night’s amendment to a $600,000
reduction of the entire FY04 IMET appropriation. However, the
legislative history established during debate makes clear the
provision’s intent to cut all funding for IMET for Indonesia for
The appropriations bill also continues a ban on U.S. government
financed sales of military equipment to Indonesia under the Foreign
Military Financing Program.
ETAN advocates for democracy, sustainable development, justice
and human rights, including women's rights, for the people of East
Timor. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes
against humanity that took place in East Timor since 1975. (www.etan.org)
IHRN is a U.S.-based grassroots organization working to educate
and activate the American public and influence U.S. foreign policy
and international economic interests to support democracy,
demilitarization, and justice through accountability and rule of law
in Indonesia. IHRN works with and advocates on behalf of people
throughout the Indonesian archipelago to strengthen civil society. (www.indonesianetwork.org)
U.S. House Foreign Ops. Bill and Report Language on E Timor and
Congressman Joel Hefley (R-CO)
2230 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Sarah Shelden
HEFLEY ELIMINATES $600,000 FOR INDONESIAN MILITARY TRAINING FUNDS
(Washington, D.C. - July 24, 2003) U.S. Representative Joel
Hefley (R-CO) yesterday stripped from the fiscal year 2004 Foreign
Operations appropriations bill a $600,000 appropriation for
International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds
designated for the Government of Indonesia. Hefley introduced the
amendment to signal his discontent with the Indonesian government's
progress on an investigation into an August 2002 terrorist attack
that left two Americans dead and eight critically wounded.
Yesterday's amendment is tied to Hefley's July 16 amendment,
which he successfully added to the fiscal years 2004 and 2005
Foreign Relations Authorization bill, to prevent Indonesia from
receiving IMET funds until the President and Congress conclude that
Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed Forces are conducting a full
investigation of the attack and criminally prosecuting the
"The victims of this attack and their families deserve a thorough
investigation by the Indonesian and U.S. governments," said Hefley.
"It is not too much to demand answers about who orchestrated and
carried out this ambush and see the perpetrators brought to justice.
Until the Indonesian government cooperates with U.S. investigators
and provides credible and honest answers about the attack, the U.S.
will withhold all IMET funds."
Littleton, Colorado resident Patsy Spier, who was a victim of the
attack and whose husband was killed, approached Hefley about seeking
support for a thorough investigation. The attack occurred as two
vehicles carrying teachers from the Tembagapura International School
were driving in Papua, Indonesia on August 31, 2002. The ambush
killed Coloradan Rick Spier, Oregonian Ted
Burgon and an Indonesian man and injured eight others, including a
An investigation of the attack by the Indonesian Police concluded
that "there is a strong possibility that the Tembagapura case was
perpetrated by members of the Indonesian National Army Force...." In
November 2002, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that U.S.
intelligence agencies had "intercepted messages between Indonesian
army commanders indicating that they were involved in staging an
ambush at the remote mine in which three school teachers, two of
them Americans, were killed...."
Despite this intelligence, the investigation of the attack has
faltered. The Indonesian military has assumed responsibility for the
investigation and has exonerated itself from wrongdoing. American
investigative teams have attempted to conduct their own
investigation, but have been prevented from fully examining the
FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORT FINANCING,
AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004 --
(House of Representatives - July 23, 2003)
IMET Floor Debate
TITLE III--MILITARY ASSISTANCE
Funds Appropriated to the President
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING
For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of section 541
of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, $91,700,000, of which up to
$3,000,000 may remain available until expended: Provided, That the
civilian personnel for whom military education and training may be
provided under this heading may include civilians who are not
members of a government whose participation would contribute to
improved civil-military relations, civilian control of the military,
or respect for human rights: Provided further, That funds
appropriated under this heading for military education and training
for Guatemala may only be available for expanded international
military education and training and funds made available for Nigeria
and Guatemala may only be provided through the regular notification
procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.
AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. HEFLEY
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment offered by Mr. Hefley:
Page 40, line 24, after the first dollar amount insert the
following: ``(reduced by $600,000)''.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr.
Chairman, my amendment is intended to cut $600,000 out of the IMET
account to prevent Indonesia from receiving IMET funding in fiscal
As many of my colleagues may remember, last week I offered an
amendment to the Foreign Service Reauthorization Act of 2004 and
2005 that would limit Indonesia's participation in the IMET program.
It passed overwhelmingly here. In fact, it passed overwhelmingly in
the other body and everywhere it has been offered. My amendment
would limit Indonesia from receiving International Military
Education and Training funds until the President certifies to
Congress, and not do away with it entirely, it just says until the
President certifies to Congress that the Government of Indonesia and
the Indonesian armed forces are taking effective measures, including
cooperating with the director of the FBI, in conducting a full
investigation of the attack and to criminally prosecute the
individuals responsible for the attack.
What attack am I talking about? My colleagues may or may not
remember, for those Members who are not aware, on August 31, 2002,
the staff of the International School of West Papua, Indonesia,
decided to go on a picnic, a Sunday afternoon picnic. The teachers
lived and worked in Tembagapura, a company town located high in the
mountains near the Grasberg gold and copper mine. The group of 11
people, including a 6-year-old child, drove in two vehicles to a
picnic site about 10 miles away on the road to Timika. Because it
began to rain, they decided to return to town for lunch.
The road they were traveling on now is not an ordinary road. The
road is surrounded by the gold and copper mine and is heavily
guarded by the Indonesian military; and in fact, at both ends of
this mountain road are military checkpoints which seal the road and
control access to Tembagapura.
As they returned home, the group was brutally attacked by a band
of terrorists. Two Americans and an Indonesian were killed in the
ambush. The attack, which occurred less than a half mile away from
an Indonesian military checkpoint, went on, and listen to me with
this because it is astounding to me. This attack was a half mile
from a military checkpoint, and it went on for
45 minutes, with no one doing anything to stop it. Hundreds of
rounds were fired at the teachers and at their vehicles. Most of the
survivors, including the 6-year-old child, were shot. Several of the
teachers were shot multiple times and suffered horrible injuries;
and Mr. Chairman, I could go on and on about this, but in the
interests of time and in deference to the chairman, let me just say
that every indication in our investigation so far by the CIA, the
FBI, and even the Indonesian police forces indicate that the
military was responsible for this attack.
But after all these months, we are getting little or no
cooperation in the investigation. That is what we want to get to the
bottom of. We want to find out who did this and bring these killers
Mr. Chairman, I would encourage support of this amendment. I
would hope that my colleagues would accept this amendment.
Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support
of the gentleman's amendment.
I applaud the gentleman for offering this amendment and for
giving us the opportunity to have an open discussion about recent
events in Indonesia. Last August, two U.S. citizens and one
Indonesian were killed in an ambush in Papua, Indonesia, and eight
other Americans were wounded. This incident took place in an area
under the nominal control of an American company and the victims
were their employees.
While the Indonesian military has sought to blame indigenous
rebel movements for this act of terror, all signs point to the
direct involvement of the Indonesian military. The FBI has been
dispatched several times to assist in the investigation. The
cooperation of the Indonesian military authorities has been sporadic
at times and at times nonexistent.
The debate on whether to allow military training for Indonesia
has gone on for over 10 years now. Last year, over my objections,
Congress allowed for the resumption of full IMET training for the
first time since 1992. Let us examine the Indonesians' response to
One, continued lack of cooperation with the FBI investigation
into the killings in Papua;
Two, an active media campaign to discredit the FBI's initial
conclusions that the Indonesian military was most likely involved in
Three, a horrific military crack down in Aceh which has resulted
in hundreds of civilians killed, executions, rape, numerous schools
burned, and thousands forced into military camps;
The shutting out of foreign journalists and human rights
organizations from Aceh;
A similar campaign in Papua, targeting mostly Christian and
A continuing mockery of justice in cases involving the abuses in
East Timor in 1999;
And efforts by the Indonesian Army to slow or hinder U.S.
anti-terrorism assistance for the Indonesian police.
In short, Indonesia has not shown any inclination to work more
closely with us and to change policies which they know are
objectionable. If anything, their behavior indicates that they have
chosen to use this as an opportunity to defy the United States.
This amendment cuts $600,000 requested for Indonesian IMET and
will send a strong signal to the Indonesians. Allowing unrestricted
IMET demonstrates to the Indonesians that they cannot afford to
ignore State Department and congressional calls for military reform,
real cooperation in the war on terrorism and an end to violence and
I urge support of the Hefley amendment.
Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I move to
strike the requisite number of words.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Hefley amendment,
which would cut all international military and education and
training IMET funding for Indonesia. We in Congress ended IMET
funding for Indonesia due to horrendous human rights abuses
committed by Indonesia's military. Mr. Chairman, nothing has
changed. Indonesia's military has continued to engage in horrific
human rights violations against its own people, especially in Aceh
and Papua, has obstructed the investigation of the death of two U.S.
and one Indonesian citizen, and deliberately evaded accountability
for crimes against humanity in East Timor.
Of great concern to me is Indonesia's failure to resolve and
provide meaningful justice for the murder of two U.S. citizens and
an Indonesian on the Freeport McMoRan mining road in Papua in August
2002. The TNI, which has been labeled as culpable for the crime by
independent monitors, has threatened parties investigating the crime
and has resisted cooperation with the FBI.
The Indonesian military has launched a major military offensive
in Aceh, the largest since its 1975 invasion of East Timor, which
within a few years resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. In
early December 2002, the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh
Movement, GAM, signed a peace accord in Geneva called the Cessations
of Hostilities Agreement. This agreement has since collapsed, and on
May 19, 2003, the Indonesian government declared martial law in
The TNI has since committed extrajudicial executions, it has
committed torture, rape, and mass displacement of civilians.
International humanitarian and human rights organizations, as well
as foreign journalists, have been denied access to Aceh.
Access for Indonesian journalists is severely restricted. Human
rights monitors and defenders have been particularly targeted. TNI-sponsored
militia thugs have attacked their offices. U.S. journalist William
Nessen has been detained and faces a possible 5-year sentence for
so-called visa violations. When Nessen originally tried to surrender
to military forces they apparently shot at him.
Finally, the trial process of the Indonesian ad hoc Human Rights
Court in East Timor has been a grave distortion of truth and an
internationally recognized travesty of justice. As of now, the court
has acquitted 12 and convicted 5, delivering light sentences. Four
of the five are less than the legal minimum under Indonesian law,
and those convicted remain free pending appeal.
To date, the Indonesian government has not provided the
documentation, executed arrest warrants, or facilitated witness
interviews as requested by the joint U.N.-East Timor Serious Crimes
Unit. Senior level government official in Indonesia responded to an
SCU indictment of high-level Indonesian security forces personnel
for crimes against humanity for murder, deportation and persecution
by publicly snubbing the indictments and openly threatening East
Congress has already provided significant carrots outside of the
provision of IMET millions in counter-terrorism training for the TNI
and the police, multilateral military exercises, and senior-level
contacts despite these and other inexcusable actions by the
Indonesian armed forces and government.
Resuming IMET funding this year will send the wrong signal and it
will reward bad behavior. This Congress should vote ``yes'' on the
Hefley amendment, and I urge my colleagues to strongly support the
Hefley amendment, which would cut all international military and
education training funding for Indonesia.
Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I move
to strike the requisite number of words, and I rise today to express
my strong support for the amendment offered by the gentleman from
Colorado, which is designed to force the government of Indonesia to
do what until now it has utterly failed to do, bring to justice the
murderers who killed two American citizens and wounded eight others
in Papua, Indonesia, in August of 2002.
Among the victims of that tragic attack were Ted Burgon of Sun
River, Oregon, in my district, and Rick Spier of Colorado, both of
whom lost their lives. Ted's wife Nancy was wounded in the ambush,
as were Ken Balk and Saundra Hopkins, also of Sun River, Oregon, and
their young daughter. A number of other members of their party
suffered injuries at the hands of the terrorists who perpetrated
this cowardly attack.
Mr. Chairman, despite the time that has elapsed since the tragedy
in Indonesia, the murderers of Burgon and Spier have not been
brought to justice. Perhaps most disturbingly there seems to have
been little effort on the part of the Indonesian government, which
receives substantial aid from the people of the United States, to
ensure that these killers are made to pay for their crimes. Indeed,
strong evidence suggests that government officials have actively
thwarted American investigations into the attack. This amendment is
intended to correct this inequity.
Mr. Chairman, since the attack occurred, evidence has been
brought to light suggesting that members of the Indonesian military,
and not a rogue band of criminals, bears responsibility for the
ambush. Following the attack, the Indonesian police conducted an
inquiry and ultimately issued a report asserting that, and I quote,
``There is a strong possibility that the attack was perpetrated by
members of the Indonesian National Army Force.'' Indeed, the attack
occurred less than a half a mile away from the Indonesian military
checkpoints. Moreover, various news services have reported that U.S.
intelligence agencies have intercepted messages between Indonesian
military officials implicating army personnel in the attack.
Mr. Chairman, from the beginning, Indonesian authorities have
been less than cooperative in assisting the FBI investigations into
the murders. Investigative agents were denied the opportunity to
interview witnesses without Indonesian authorities present and were
not permitted to bring forensic evidence back to the United States
It is my firm belief that if prosecuting the murderers of
American citizens on Indonesian soil is not a priority for the
government of Indonesia, they should not expect to receive
assistance from the people of the United States. My colleague's
amendment would prevent Indonesia from receiving international
military education and training funds until the President certifies
to the Congress that the Indonesian government and the Indonesian
military are cooperating with American authorities in their
investigation into the attack.
Given the strong possibility that members of the Indonesian
military were involved in the ambush, it would be an affront to the
memory of Ted Burgon and Rick Spier, as well as the grieving
families they left behind, to continue providing funding to the
Indonesian armed forces. So I urge my colleagues to support this
Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the
requisite number of words.
Mr. Chairman, many statements have been made on the floor about
this amendment. Unfortunately, very little of them have been
accurate. Let me read the amendment, since it is less than two full
lines. ``Page 40, line 24. After the first dollar amount insert the
following (reduce by $600,000).''
Mr. Chairman, this does not reduce the funding for Indonesia. It
would take only $600,000 out of the international military education
and training account. It is a cut to the general appropriations
account. And it is correctly drafted this way, because to put other
kinds of restrictions in it would not have been in order.
So I want to make it very clear to my colleagues that this is not
an amendment which in any way directly affects Indonesia at all. The
language that has been stated here on the floor might, but the
amendment itself has no impact itself on Indonesia.
As to the issue of the tragic killing of U.S. citizens in
Indonesia, our report in fact does deal with this on page 46 where
we outline in some considerable detail the problems and make note
with this sentence, Mr. Chairman: ``Most disturbing, the committee
understands that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has not found
Indonesian officials to be particularly cooperative.'' So we have
made note of this. We are very concerned about it.
But certainly attacking IMET as the way to get at this would be
the absolute contrary way to do so. IMET is about exposing foreign
military officers and enlisted personnel to civilian control, to
respect for human rights, to the rule of law. It is, as its very
title suggests, about education and training. And as we know from
the programs that exist, human rights and civil rights, respect for
human rights and respect for civil rights is a very major component
of this training. If you want to reform the Indonesian military,
then cutting off IMET is exactly the opposite of what one ought to
do. At some point we ought to be increasing IMET for Indonesia, and
perhaps indeed that is what may happen.
But I would also note, before I close, that our legislation does
not permit or does not provide for any foreign military sales to
Indonesia, and so that is specifically prohibited. But I am happy
that this amendment does not in any way affect the IMET funding
specifically for Indonesia. It represents what is less than a
six-tenths of 1 percent cut in the total amount. And while I am a
strong supporter of IMET, because I believe that it does exactly
what we want to do, and we have adequate proof of this around the
world, that it exposes military officers in other countries to human
rights, to civil rights, to the values that we believe are important
in this country, and because of that I strongly support it, but I am
not prepared at this hour of the evening to quibble about what is
less than a six-tenths of 1 percent cut in this funding.
And so, Mr. Chairman, I am prepared to accept the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the
gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Hefley).
The amendment was agreed to.