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ACTION ALERT: Oppose Pentagon Aid to the Indonesian Military


June 12, 2005
John M. Miller / East Timor & Indonesia Action Network

The Pentagon and State Department want to remove all Congressional restrictions on military assistance to Indonesia's brutal security forces. Senators and Representatives need to hear from you that this must not be allowed to happen, especially now as Congress makes crucial legislative decisions.

The Pentagon and State Department want to remove all Congressional restrictions on military assistance to Indonesia's brutal security forces. Senators and Representatives need to hear from you that this must not be allowed to happen, especially now as Congress makes crucial legislative decisions.

During the Indonesian president's late May visit to Washington, the Bush administration announced the reinstatement of several types of military assistance. Please urge Congress to put a check on the executive by limiting Bush's ability to assist Indonesia's human rights-violating security forces.

Representatives will be deciding in June whether to pass legislated restrictions on assistance for the Indonesian military. ETAN activists will be in Washington June 13 and 14 for in-person meetings (during ETAN Advocacy Days) to tell Members of Congress to oppose aid for this brutal military.

BACKGROUND
The House of Representatives will be deciding this month whether to continue to restrict Indonesia from receiving IMET, foreign military financing, and export licenses for lethal defense articles in the 2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.

The 2005 legislation forbids these programs until a wide range of conditions are met, including presidential certification that the Indonesian government is prosecuting members of the armed forces accused of rights violations or aiding militia groups and punishing those guilty of such acts. (IMET brings foreign military officers to the US for training. Foreign military financing provides grants and loans to help countries purchase US-produced weapons, defense equipment, services and military training.)

When Indonesia's president visited Washington in May, the Bush administration lifted restrictions in place since 1999 on the sale of 'non-lethal' excess defense articles (surplus military equipment) and on foreign military sales of non-lethal items, allowing the Indonesian government to purchase military equipment, services, and training directly from the US government.

Congress first voted to restrict Indonesia from receiving IMET in response to the November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor by Indonesian troops wielding US-supplied M-16 rifles. All military ties with Indonesia were severed in September 1999 as the military and its militia proxies razed East Timor.

In late February, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice restored full IMET for Indonesia. Just two days later, the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices said, "Security force members murdered, tortured, raped, beat, and arbitrarily detained civilians and members of separatist movements, especially in Aceh and to a lesser extent in Papua." East Timorese and Indonesian NGOs have repeatedly called for restrictions on military engagement to be maintained.

Tell your Representative and Senators:
• To actively support full restriction of military assistance for Indonesia in the 2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. IMET (International Military Education and Training), foreign military financing, and export licenses for defense articles should all be restricted.

• The Indonesian military commits atrocious human rights violations, resists reform, and remains unaccountable for crime against humanity committed in East Timor and elsewhere.

• Help set the context for ETAN's in-person meetings during Advocacy Days. The Congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121, or check www.congress.org for contact information. Every call makes a difference, so please contact your Members of Congress. Please let us know the results of your efforts by sending an email to
etan@etan.orgetan@etan.org.

• For more information, see www.etan.org

Sample Letter
(modify to your own words)

Dear Senator/ Representative [LAST NAME],

I am writing to oppose US support for the Indonesian military. I am disturbed that the administration recently announced the reinstatement of several types of military assistance that had been restricted for years due to the military's very poor human rights [UTF-8?]record â?" a record which remains poor and for which perpetrators remain unaccountable. This follows the February resumption of full IMET for Indonesia although it clearly had failed to meet the congressionally- mandated condition requiring full cooperation with the investigation into the ambush murders of two Americans and an Indonesian in West Papua on August 31, 2002.

The Indonesian military continues to resist reform, evade accountability for human rights violations in East Timor and elsewhere, and commit atrocious human rights violations throughout Indonesia. According to the State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices released just two days after it reinstated full IMET for Indonesia, "Security force members murdered, tortured, raped, beat, and arbitrarily detained civilians and members of separatist movements, especially in Aceh and to a lesser extent in Papua."

I urge you to actively support full restriction of military assistance for Indonesia in the 2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, including IMET, foreign military financing, and export licenses for defense articles. I further ask that you vigorously protest the Secretary of State's certification of IMET and the administration's decision to reinstate 'non-lethal' foreign military sales and the sale of excess defense articles. Congress must act to limit the administration's ability to assist Indonesia's human rights-violating security forces.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

NAME ADDRESS CITY, STATE ZIP

John M. Miller is Media & Outreach Coordinator East Timor & Indonesia Action Network 48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA Phone: (718)596-7668 Web site: http://www.etan.org
Enjoy East Timor's organic coffee & support ETAN < http://www.justcoffee.net/etan.html

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