- July 16 - The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) along with representatives of
56 other organizations today called on Congress to renew restrictions on military
training and weapons sales to Indonesia.
In a letter sent to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees,
the groups warned, "The 'war on terrorism' should not become a vehicle to
support state-sponsored military terror on civilians in Indonesia."
The letter urged Congress to renew the "Leahy conditions" restricting
Indonesia's participation in International Military Training and Education (IMET)
and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs. The letter also argued against
including Indonesian security forces in the recently-established "Regional
Counter-terrorism Fellowship" program.
"It is counter-productive... to withhold prestigious U.S. military training
in order to encourage military reform and accountability for crimes against humanity
while offering the same training under a different program," the letter stated.
"The Pentagon and others in the Administration have argued that the U.S.
needs to open channels in order to influence the TNI. We remain unconvinced about
what influence the Pentagon hopes to achieve, when past experience demonstrates
that exposure to U.S. military culture has done little or nothing to improve TNI
The full text of the letter and its signatories can be found at http://www.etan.org/news/2002a/07letter.htm.
A separate report issued this week by ETAN documented Indonesia's failure to
comply with the seven "Leahy conditions." ("Leahy Conditions on
Restrictions of Military Assistance for Indonesia Have Not Been Met," http://www.etan.org/news/2002a/07leahy.htm).
These conditions, codified in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, call
for prosecution of those responsible for atrocities in East Timor and Indonesia,
an end to military support for militia groups, return of refugees, the release
of political detainees, access to conflict regions by international organizations,
and accounting for the military's receipts and expenditures.
Congress first voted to restrict IMET for Indonesia, which brings foreign military
officers to the U.S. for training, in response to the November 12, 1991 Santa
Cruz massacre in East Timor. All military ties were severed in September 1999
as the Indonesian military and its militia proxies razed East Timor following
its pro-independence vote. Congress first passed the "Leahy conditions"
in late 1999 and strengthened them last November. The president must certify that
the Indonesia has met these conditions before regular IMET and FMF can be restored
House and Senate Appropriations Committees are now considering next fiscal
year's appropriations bills. Congress has come under increasing pressure from
the Bush administration to lift restrictions on U.S.-Indonesia military ties.
The East Timor Action Network/U.S. (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. See http://www.etan.org.