John M. Miller, ETAN: 718-596-7668 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn Fredriksson, ETAN Washington Office: 202-544-6911 or email@example.com
For Immediate Release, May 12, 1998
After Six Killed in Jakarta ETAN Calls for an End to Sales of Weapons, Spare Parts, and Ammunition to Indonesia and a Ban on All Military Training
The East Timor Action Network today urged Congress and President Clinton to formally end military training and all transfers of weapons, spare parts and ammunition to Indonesia in light of reports of at least six killed when Indonesian police opened fire on demonstrating students in Jakarta.
ETAN is working with members of Congress to enact an immediate freeze on all transfers of weapons, spare parts and ammunition and ban on all further military training.
"The Suharto regime should not receive one more bullet, weapon or dollar from the United States," said John M. Miller of the East Timor Action Network (ETAN). "We would not give a gun to a parent that had killed a son or daughter. Neither should we arm a government that brutally guns down its country's own children in the streets."
"The U.S military support and the IMF only serve to prop up a discredited dictatorship," said Charles Scheiner, National Coordinator of ETAN. "While blood is flowing in the streets of Jakarta, the IMF must insist that Indonesia respect human rights."
"The ill-gotten wealth of Suharto, his family and cronies has exacerbated economic hardship in Indonesia -- the IMF exacerbates the suffering of the poor while keeping the cronies comfortable," he added.
"For 22 years the East Timorese have suffered what has become the reality of military repression in Jakarta," said Lynn Fredriksson, ETAN Washington
Representative. "A quick exit for Suharto will only benefit the peoples of both Indonesia and East Timor."
Late last week, the Pentagon announced the indefinite suspension of its Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) exercises for the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) due to concerns about unrest.
In a statement released at the time, ETAN's Allan Nairn called the decision "a breakthrough victory for the pro-democracy movement -- both in Indonesia and occupied East Timor -- and here in the United States."
The JCET training has not yet been formally terminated and banned, and the US still arms, advises, finances, and politically comforts the ABRI. "Washington, the ABRI's longtime patron, should now renounce this killer force. At a time when brave Indonesians and East Timorese are risking their lives to demand freedom, the US should not be supporting in any form an institution devoted to suppressing them," Nairn said.
While the administration observes a ban on the sale of small arms, armored personnel carriers and helicopter-mounted weapons, it continues to supply spare parts, ammunition and other military equipment to the Suharto regime. The US government Export-Import Bank has also financed helicopter sales to ABRI.
In April, ETAN, members of Congress and the Nation magazine revealed ongoing training of some of Indonesia's most notorious military units, which Congress thought it had banned after a 1991 massacre in East Timor. Congress cut off IMET (International Military Education and Training) aid to ABRI in 1992. The JCET training program teaches units such as KOPASSUS lethal tactics like "Advanced Sniper Techniques," "Military Operations in Urban Terrain," "Psychological Operations," "Air Assault," and "Close Quarters Combat."
ETAN is supporting HR 3802, a bill introduced by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and 21 initial cosponsors that would terminate ABRI's JCET training (the bill says that any country banned from receiving IMET is also ineligible for other forms of US military training).
Also on the Congress' agenda is House Concurrent Resolution (H.Con.Res.) 258, which affirms congressional support for East Timor's right to self-determination.
ETAN works for self-determination for Indonesian-occupied East Timor and human rights in both East Timor and Indonesia. It opposes the provision of weapons and military training to the Suharto regime.