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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

United States military, economic and political aid to Indonesia
Apoiu militar, politika no diplomata hosi Estadus Unidus ba Indonesia:

A collection of recent reports, articles and news concerning complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity through the provision of military, economic or diplomatic support to Indonesia by the United States of America.


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Up-Dated: Feb 13, 2002

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Main Contents: BD: Military, economic and political aid to Indonesia

Feb 13 AFR: Megawati's stunt may haunt Howard  Comment and Analysis added Feb 13
"The surprise decision by the Indonesian Government to propose a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia for combating international terrorism is one of the cleverest diplomatic initiatives yet made in South-East Asia. ... The MOU is Jakarta’s response to pressure from the United States to clamp down harder on militant Islamists - Jemaah Islamiah, for example - who may have links with Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network. ... It has six significant effects: ... It helps weaken US congressional bans on military ties between the US and Indonesia (beyond limited training and non-lethal aid) by getting one of Washington’s closest allies to re-legitimise the TNI. The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, and the defence establishment in the US are very keen to re-engage the TNI, even if Congress isn’t - yet." Scott Burchill, lecturer, international relations, Deakin University’s School of Australian & International Studies

Dec 20 ETAN/IHRN: Rights groups condemn end run on military training restrictions  Release added Dec 31
"Counter-terrorism must not be used as an excuse to resume training for a military [Indonesian military (TNI)] which terrorizes its own people and continues to enjoy impunity for its scorched-earth campaign in East Timor ... The bill does not specify what will be taught in the program. There is no requirement preventing these funds from being used to train the Indonesian military, and we don’t think they should.” Kurt Biddle, Washington Coordinator, Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN)
“Until the Indonesian military and government comply with the very reasonable conditions in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, the US government should not be training Indonesian military personnel. These restrictions were put in place for a reason,” John M. Miller, spokesperson for East Timor Action Network (ETAN)

Dec 15 IPRD: Indonesia, ETimor & The Western Powers: A Case Study  Research paper added Dec 18
"II.V The Arms Ban and the Escalation of Genocide: The Western powers thoroughly supported this reign of terror and genocide, even when they appeared not to. For instance, in reaction to the illegal invasion and occupation, the United States imposed a secret arms embargo on Indonesia from December 1975 to June 1976. Unfortunately, the embargo was so ‘secret’ that Indonesia was unaware of it and the U.S. failed to adhere to it. Professor Benedict Anderson of Cornell University later exposed this deliberate fraud in his testimony before Congress in February 1978, citing a report that had been “confirmed from the Department of Defense printout” showing that there never was an arms embargo. During the period in which the arms ban was supposed to be effective, the U.S. in fact initiated new offers of weapons to the Indonesian military regime. ... Indeed, the U.S. increased arms sales to Indonesia after the invasion, supplying counterinsurgency aircraft that “changed the entire nature of the war”, according to retired U.S. Admiral Gene La Roque. Transport aircraft, armoured cars, rifles, mortars, machine guns and communications equipment were supplied by the U.S., all of which “contributed significantly to the military successes of the Indonesian Armed Forces in their 1977-79 offensive”. " Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and a Researcher at the Islamic Human Rights Commission

Dec 15 IPRD: Indonesia, ETimor & The Western Powers: A Case Study  Research paper added Dec 18
"II.VI Diplomatic and Financial Perpetuation of the Conflict: ... Events a year after the invasion of East Timor provide ample explanation for this admiration for the Indonesian military regime and its policies of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Negotiations began between an Australian company and Indonesia on extracting the vast oil resources on both the island itself and in the Timor Gap, the seabed between Timor and Australia which is just of the coast of East Timor. By December 1989, the negotiations were finally settled with a joint agreement to exploit the Timor Sea, the Timor Gap Treaty, involving Australian, British and U.S. companies, among others. A month after the Dili massacre, the Australian government alone approved with Indonesia eleven oil production contracts for exploitation of a jointly controlled area of the sea. As Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans put it, the gains to be made from East Timor under the Timor Gap Treaty in terms of oil amounted to “zillions of dollars”. " Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and a Researcher at the Islamic Human Rights Commission

Dec 13 S-DCW: Washington Gave Green Light to Invasion of East Timor  Article added Dec 31
"If Americans needed any reminding how, during the cold war, U.S. policymakers subordinated Wilsonian principles of self-determination to the larger anticommunist struggle, they should read several secret U.S. documents surrounding Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor obtained and released this week by the independent National Security Archive (NSA). The documents confirm that visiting U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave a green light to President Suharto for the invasion." Jim Lobe, contributing editor, Foreign Policy in Focus & journalist, Inter Press Service, an international news agency

Dec 6 NSAEB: Ford, Kissinger and the Indonesian Invasion, 1975-76  Article added Dec 31
"Most recently, journalist Christopher Hitchens raised questions about the role of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in giving a green light to the invasion that has left perhaps 200,000 dead in the years since. Two newly declassified documents from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, released to the National Security Archive, shed light on the Ford administration’s relationship with President Suharto of Indonesia during 1975. Of special importance is the record of Ford’s and Kissinger’s meeting with Suharto in early December 1975. The document shows that Suharto began the invasion knowing that he had the full approval of the White House." National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 62

Nov 12 DemNow!: RealAudio Program on Santa Cruz Massacre  Audio link added Nov 15
"The Indonesian troops who committed the massacre [Santa Cruz] used M-16 rifles provided by the US; their officers were trained and supported by the U.S. When the horrific reports of the Santa Cruz massacre reached the outside world, the response of the US and its allies was instructive. The Bush Administration doubled military aid to Indonesia even as General Try Sutrisno, who would later become Vice President, said of the nonviolent protestors “such people much be shot and we will shoot them.” But the massacre also sparked an international solidarity movement to support the East Timorese struggle for liberation from Indonesian occupation." Democracy NOW! in Exile

Nov 12 TETA: The eve of 10th anniversary of Santa Cruz massacre  Statements added Nov 12
"After the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, U.S. President George W.  Bush immediately condemned terrorism, and on Oct. 7 started a war of “retaliation” against Afghanistan with the stated purpose of annihilating terrorism. On Sept. 19, however, at the same time that the U.S. was preparing its retaliation attack, President Bush promised visiting Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri that, in return for Indonesian support for the U.S. attack, the U.S. would resume commercial sales of weapons to the Indonesian army and direct contact between U.S. and Indonesian military advisers. This was despite the fact that the Indonesian military has committed and continues to commit terrorist acts." Free East Timor! Japan Coalition; National Christian Council; Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace; Amnesty International Japan; Network for Indonesian Democracy, Japan; Japan NGO Network for Indonesia; and Pacific Asia Resource Center

October 2001 LHB: Solidarity and International Justice  Article added Nov 9
"Earlier, the intensive lobbying of U.S. activists was key to enacting a law that prohibits the financing and training of the Indonesian military by Washington (the Leahy amendment). The legislation blocks the U.S. from resuming bilateral military co-operation until those responsible for violence in East Timor are brought to justice. The law is still in effect, although ETAN and other U.S. activists must continually defend it against Bush Administration attempts to restore the U.S.-Indonesia military-to-military ties." Paul Barber, TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign

Oct 23 WPI: Indonesia at the Crossroads: U.S. Weapons Sales and Military Training  Report [75kb] added Oct 24
"As he [US President Bush] builds a coalition to fight terrorism, Bush is in danger of arming and training some of the Pacific region’s worst tools of terror—namely the Indonesian military. ... In December 1975, Indonesia invaded the new nation of East Timor, which had just declared itself independent from Portuguese colonizers. Within five years, more than 200,000 people, one-third of the pre-invasion population, had been killed, ... given the current instability [within Indonesia], it seems self evident that new shipments of weapons and military training from the United States [to Indonesia] would only pour gas on the raging fire of this 17,000-island archipelago." Frida Berrigan, author of this special report

Oct 10 CSM: A Long Wait for Justice in East Timor  Article added Oct 11
"Pressure to try human rights cases against the Indonesian military ebbs amid counterterror push. ... with a war on global terrorism bringing potential US allies across Asia in from the cold, Indonesia’s commanders may never be held accountable. One sign of that thaw is the US government’s decision last month to resume low-level military ties with Indonesia, which had been suspended over the East Timor violence. The resumption of ties came as Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri met with President Bush to voice support for the US-led counterterror campaign. ... Given the push to cement links with moderate Islamic nations, opponents in Congress may find it hard to refuse further military cooperation with the world’s most populous Muslim country, despite its tarnished record." Simon Montlake, Jakarta, Indonesia

Sep 25 ASIET: US War Drive and Racism: Stop the War Against the Third World  Statement added Sep 26
"Two of the greatest acts of terrorism in the 20th century: East Timor and Indonesia: ... In East Timor 200,000 people, or one third of the population died, as a result of the war against the East Timorese people by General Suharto’s army. General Suharto attacked East Timor one day after US President Gerald Ford and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited Jakarta and gave the go ahead. ... In 1965 in Indonesia, the US helped organise the mass slaughter of more than ONE MILLION workers, peasants, students and women’s activists who were trying to free Indonesia from the exploitative grip of the West." Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET)

Sep 23 TAPOL: Statement on the Megawati-Bush Joint Statement Added Oct 11
"Indonesia and the current world crisis On 19 September, President Megawati  Sukarnoputri went to Washington to meet President Bush for a state visit that had been agreed before the horrendous events in New York and Washington on 11 September when more than six thousand people of many nations met their deaths as the result of a heinous, terrorist attack. TAPOL joins in mourning those who were killed, while continuing to mourn the one million or more Indonesians who met their deaths as Suharto took power in 1965/1966. On that occasion, Washington gave unstinting support to Suharto and the Indonesian army to continue with this massacre and made no calls on the world community to fight terrorism - state terrorism - which might well have halted the massacre in its tracks. ... Megawati’s measured response shows that she knows full well that support for Washington in Indonesia is less than enthusiastic." TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign

Sep 19 White House: U.S. and Indonesia Pledge Cooperation  Pledge added Oct 11
"... President George W. Bush and President Megawati Soekarnoputri today vowed to open a new era of bilateral cooperation based on shared democratic values and a common interest in promoting regional stability and prosperity. ... President Megawati condemned the barbaric and indiscriminate acts carried out against innocent civilians and pledged to cooperate with the international community in combatting terrorism. She underscored that terrorism also increasingly threatens Indonesia’s democracy and national security. The two Presidents agreed that their respective officials would soon discuss concrete ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism, in particular on capacity and institution building. ... President Bush reiterated the firm support of the United States for Indonesia’s territorial integrity and emphasized that the U.S. does not support secessionist aspirations in these areas or elsewhere. ... The two Presidents resolved to work closely to expand trade bilaterally, regionally and globally. ... President Bush recognized the important role of the Indonesian military (TNI) as a national institution ... " Joint Statement Between U.S.A. and Republic of Indonesia

Sep 19 White House: U.S. - Indonesia Fact Sheet: U.S.-Indonesia Trade & Finance Initiative  Facts added Oct 11
"The three U.S. trade finance agencies: the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA), have developed a joint trade and finance initiative for projects in Indonesia.  The three agencies will undertake to provide up to a combined $400 million to promote trade and investment within Indonesia, especially in the Indonesian oil and gas sector." The White House, Washington DC

Sep 6 ETAN: Grassroots & Congressional Action Mark Anniversary of Timor Massacres  Release added Sep 6
“We are deeply disappointed that the Bush administration has not made a priority of a just resolution to East Timor’s refugee crisis or even publicly called for an international tribunal, ... We are disturbed by the administration’s stated plans to renew ties with the Indonesian military, especially now as this repressive force continues its brutal tactics against civilians throughout Indonesia.” Diane Farsetta, East Timor Action Network (ETAN)’s Field Organizer

Jul 24 IHRN/ETAN: U.S. Reaffirms Support for Indon Military Reform and for ETimor  Release added Aug 1
"The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2002 (HR 2506), passed by the House of Representatives tonight, continues restrictions on military assistance to Indonesia. A day after Megawati Sukarnoputri took office in Indonesia with the military's backing, the bill renews the “Leahy Provisions,” conditions that the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed Forces must meet before U.S. military assistance can resume. The bill also appropriates $25 million to support East Timor." The Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) and the East Timor Action Network (ETAN)

Jul 24 IHT: Gareth Evans: Indonesia's Military Culture Has to Be Reformed  Article added July 25
“The Bush administration wants to expand military training programs and has undertaken an overall review of its military assistance policies toward Indonesia. The results of this review have yet to be made public. Any major shift in U.S. policy would send important signals about Washington’s perspective on the future of Indonesian miliitary reform and the role of the military in Indonesian society." Gareth Evans, Australia’s foreign minister from 1988 to 1996, President of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group

July 23 IHRN Urges New Indonesian President to Curtail Military and Police Abuses  Release added July 26
"IHRN urges the U.S. government to uphold its commitment to genuine reform by maintaining all current restrictions on military assistance and refraining from police assistance to Indonesia until the most basic human rights of people throughout the archipelago are respected," Lynn Fredriksson, The Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN)

Jul 17 ETAN/US: Scheiner: "Guns Know No Borders" rally NY  Speech added July 22
"The guns used by the Indonesian military to kill 200,000 East Timorese civilians were almost all “legal.” They were fired by soldiers following orders from a recognized government. They were sold according to the laws of the countries - principally the United States, but also Britain, Germany, Russia, Sweden and many others - which profited from Indonesia’s need for ever more bullets in their effort to exterminate East Timor’s freedom. ... Indonesia’s annexation of East Timor was never recognized by the United Nations, ... During the most intense killing in the 1970s and 80s, United States businesses and government supplied 90% of Indonesia’s arms, double the amount before the 1975 invasion. These weapons violated a 1958 treaty that banned their use for “aggressive purposes.” And the human and legal rights of the people of East Timor, their rights to life and to self-determination, were violated every day of the quarter-century of occupation." Charles Scheiner, National Coordinator, East Timor Action Network

Jul 14 LH: "Youth Front for a War Crimes Tribunal" calls for U.S. govt disclosure  News from ETimor added July 14
"On 4 July 2001, approximately 200 activists gathered in front of UNTAET headquarters for a rally demanding that UNTAET support an international tribunal for East Timor. ... Among its demands, the group [Youth Front for a War Crimes Tribunal] called upon the United States government to fully and publicly disclose its role in supporting Indonesia's crimes against the East Timorese people and to actively support the creation of an international tribunal for East Timor." La'o Hamutuk

Jun 29 St.J: Young Activist Tries to Make Social Change  Article added July 18
“We’re training them [Indonesian government] to repress their own people [through military aid] and that allows corporations to go into Indonesia, ... People who try to organize to improve their conditions get killed. ... I’ve learned that I can make a difference and change the world, ... I think if you can make a small change, you can send out a ripple, ... In that small way you can even affect politics in East Timor.” Tristan Vazquez, member, East Timor Action Network

Jun 28 Asia Times: Madness For the US to Restore Relations with TNI  Article added June 29
"The Bush administration has approved a restoration of limited military contacts with Indonesia, while Australia wants to go a step further by signing a formal security treaty. This is madness," Alan Boyd

Jun 1 Gabrielson: U.S. Responsibility in the West Timor Refugee Crisis  Report added July 11
"The U.S. is unquestionably the most powerful foreign influence in Jakarta and has been for half a century. ... the U.S. military-industrial complex once made enormous profits selling various killing machines, as well as trainings of questionable variety, to the military of Indonesia, and still salivates at the prospect of such a lucrative market opening again in the future. ... Yet, like the Pusher Man in a dark alley, the U.S. is offering $200,000 dollars of “military training” to Indonesia in 2001. ... It is important that justice be done and that crimes against humanity be identified." Curt Gabrielson

May 17 ETAN/US: U.S. House of Reps Supports Timor Rights & Reconstruction  Release added May 19
“U.S. support is critical to East Timor’s future, and we appreciate the deep continuing involvement demonstrated by the House of Representatives. We must build on this step to institute socially, environmentally, and economically just relations between the two countries. Given past U.S. support for Indonesia’s illegal occupation, that is the least our country can do for the people of East Timor,” Karen Orenstein, Washington Coordinator, East Timor Action Network/U.S.

May 16 IHRN & ETAN: Rights Groups Oppose Military Cooperation with Indonesia  Release added May 20
"The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) and the Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) today condemned Indonesia’s participation in joint military exercises with the U.S. The groups warned that any military cooperation sends the wrong message to the Indonesian military (TNI), which has yet to be held accountable for past human rights abuses in both East Timor and Indonesia and continues to engage in systematic violations across the archipelago."

Mar 29 Tempo: US President urged not to support Indonesian military  News
"About 30 [Indonesian] women activists held rally at the US Embassy on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan here today. They asked President Bush not to support the Indonesian military (TNI) in any form, including supporting education program for TNI officers in the US. The demonstrators also asked the US government not to lift military embargo imposed since the East Timor referendum, until TNI is no longer involved in the power play." Tempo

Mar 14 ETAN: U.S. law bars U.S. military aid and training for Indonesia Info
"If President Bush, Secretary Powell, Assistant Secretary Wolfowitz, the Indonesian government or anyone else would like to resume U.S. military relations with the Indonesian government, they must either meet the conditions in the law or change the law by an act of Congress." Charles Scheiner, National Coordinator, East Timor Action Network/US

Mar 4 Simpson: The Truth About Timor  Letter
"The United States could help East Timor by declassifying documents that reveal its own role in supporting Indonesia's invasion and occupation since 1975. Those countries that turned a blind eye to East Timor's enormous suffering must also seek reconciliation with the Timorese, and with their own shameful pasts." Brad Simpson

Feb 26 IHRN: Indonesia Human Rights Network Urges Continued Ban on U.S. Aid to Indonesian Military  Release
"Before there can be any resumption of military ties between Washington and Jakarta, the Indonesian armed forces must undergo significant reform. The U.S. government should accept nothing short of civilian control of the military as well as human rights trials conducted under international standards of justice as preconditions for any re-engagement with the Indonesian military," Agatha Schmaedick, Indonesia Human Rights Network co-chair

Jan 27 ETAN/IHRN: Rights groups urge continued suspension of military ties with Indonesia  Release
"Shipping hardware to the Indonesian military will severely set back efforts to achieve democracy and respect for human rights in Indonesia ... Anyone familiar with the ongoing conflicts in West Papua, Aceh and Maluku/the Moluccas knows that the TNI is at best impeding resolution; more often it is an exceedingly brutal central cause of the problem." Lynn Fredriksson, acting coordinator for Indonesia Human Rights Network.

Jan 24 Reut: Top E.Timorese wants U.S. to help Indonesian army  News
"One of East Timor's most prominent leaders, who denounced abuses by Indonesian troops in his homeland for decades, made a turnabout on Wednesday and urged the United States to resume military aid to Jakarta. It was a bizarre change of tack for Nobel peace prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta who was at the vanguard of the fight against the often brutal 23-year rule of East Timor by Indonesia." Joanne Collins

Jan 11 FPIF: U.S. - East Timor Foreign Policy in Focus Brief  Release
"The U.S. has declined to provide full support for an international human rights tribunal that would examine the abuses and killings (in East Timor) ... [but the Pentagon] has persisted in advocating military assistance to Indonesia, even when this has meant exploiting loopholes in legislation enacted to end military aid," Lynn Fredriksson, Foreign Policy in Focus

Sept 27 1999 Noam Chomsky: East Timor Retrospective - An overview and lessons  Analysis
"It is not easy to write with feigned calm and dispassion about the events that have been unfolding in East Timor. Horror and shame are compounded by the fact that the crimes are so familiar and could so easily have been terminated. That has been true ever since Indonesia invaded in December 1975, relying on U.S. diplomatic support and arms -- used illegally, but with secret authorization, even new arms shipments sent under the cover of an official "embargo." There has been no need to threaten bombing or even sanctions. It would have sufficed for the U.S. and its allies to withdraw their active participation, and to inform their close associates in the Indonesian military command that the atrocities must be terminated and the territory granted the right of self-determination that has been upheld by the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. We cannot undo the past, but should at least be willing to recognize what we have done, and to face the moral responsibility of saving the remnants and providing ample reparations, a pathetic gesture of compensation for terrible crimes." Noam Chomsky


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