Fwd (GLW): UNITED STATES: Training Indonesian terrorists in `anti-terrorism'

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Sun Jun 4 19:57:14 MDT 2000


>From the latest Green Left Weekly:

UNITED STATES: Training Indonesian terrorists in `anti-terrorism'

The following is a statement presented by United States journalist ALLAN
NAIRN to the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights on
May 11.

Mr Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is Allan Nairn. Last
fall, I testified before this committee after witnessing the final days of
the physical destruction of East Timor by the Indonesian Armed Forces
(TNI). I recently returned to free East Timor, and also managed to enter
Indonesia and examine military operations in the rural zones.

The Indonesian military and security forces are now politically
discredited, and the movement against them -- that began in the streets --
has now reached the Jakarta elites. Freedom and democracy are now within
realistic reach in Indonesia, but only if the illegitimate power of the
armed and security forces can be broken. The key determining factors in
this struggle will be continued protest on the ground and action by the US
Congress to maintain and strengthen the current ban on military aid.

Pro-democracy action will have to come from Congress, though, because US
President Bill Clinton's administration is now attempting to shore up the
politically fading TNI. Unbeknownst to the US public, and to many in
Congress, it is looking for ways to aid a military that still pursues a
policy of terror against civilians.

Policy of terror

In Aceh, where I visited, the Army and National Police (Polri) are sweeping
through rural villages, sometimes killing civilians at a rate of three to
six per day. Some of the units leading this campaign, including the Polri's
Gegana and Brimob [mobile brigade] have now been slated for new lethal
training from Washington.

In several areas, including West Kalimantan, where I also was, military and
police intelligence have been stirring and exacerbating ethnic fighting.
Near one town I visited, the Polri were actually handing out a printed hit
list of eight individuals who were being hunted by a lynch mob of armed
young men who had seized the town.

The police stood back and watched as they burned buses and ran wild. Local
residents said that this was a common occurrence in the zone.

These tactics are consistent with the policy enunciated in secret TNI
documents recently left behind after the TNI quit East Timor. The
documents, many recovered by Yayasan Hak, the Timorese human rights group,
include a covert operations manual for TNI's notorious Kopassus red berets.


This classified manual (Buku Petunjuk tentang Sandi Yudha TNI AD, Nomor:
43-B-01; issued June 30, 1999) states that Kopassus personnel are to be
prepared in the “tactic and technique” of “terror” and “kidnapping”. It is
signed and authorized by numerous senior officers including General Johny
Lumintang, the long-time US protégé touted by the US State Department as a
“moderate”, who was recently served with a crimes against humanity lawsuit
shortly after attending a gathering at the US National Defense University.
(After the suit was filed, US Ambassador Gelbard expressed regret and
praised General Lumintang as a “friend” of the US.) The Kopassus manual
meshes with other recovered documents which make it clear that violence
against civilians is still a core doctrine of TNI.

Yet, despite this, the administration is now trying to move on several
fronts to restore material US support for the Indonesian armed forces.

Unbeknownst to the public and to many in Congress, the US administration is
now going forward with plans to stage a CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness
and Training) military exercise with the TNI this [northern] summer.

CARAT

CARAT is a large-scale exercise, involving the US navy, marines and other
forces, that stages simulated amphibious invasions of Indonesian islands.
According to a Pentagon memo (“Response to Congressman Lane Evans et. al”,
July 15, 1998) previous CARATs have included: “Amphibious landing,
patrolling, live fire cross training, parachute training, fast rope, small
boat ops, reconnaissance surveillance, raids.”

The 1998 CARAT was cancelled after the congressional uproar over JCET
(Joint Combined Exchange Training), the program under which the US taught
urban warfare and sniper techniques in circumvention of the congressional
ban on US military training for Indonesia. But last year, as the Timor
terror built toward a climax, the Pentagon went ahead with another CARAT
just before the independence vote (CARAT was August 11-25. The vote was on
August 30.).

Not only, by this timing, did the US reaffirm faith in TNI at the crucial
moment, but it also explicitly prepared Indonesian officers, who
immediately after CARAT went straight into East Timor for the final weeks
of the terror campaign.

One of these officers, Lieutenant Colonel (later Colonel) Willem, helped
coordinate the Indonesian naval forces in CARAT and then went to Dili where
he served as a senior official in KOREM military headquarters, the very
base from which the Aitarak militias staged their terror raids during late
September. I saw this first-hand since I was a prisoner in KOREM and was
interrogated by Colonel Willem, who, since his Timor stint, has been
promoted to head the personal staff of Admiral Widodo, the new national TNI
commander.

If the Pentagon and TNI hold another CARAT this summer, they will not have
missed a beat: exercise in August, 1999; move on to destroy East Timor.
Then exercise again in summer 2000, as if nothing untoward had happened.

In addition to CARAT, the administration has also approved TNI attendance
at a US-Thai exercise, Cobra Gold, that is under way right now (May 9-23).
In the recent past, according to the Pentagon's Asia-Pacific Defense Forum
(Spring, 1998 issue), Cobra Gold has involved “combined air assault”,
“combined amphibious assault”, infantry insertion, “unconventional
warfare”, “weapons training, [and] camouflage techniques”, simulated
“guerrilla” bases, “direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal
defense and counter-terrorism”.

If Congress lets the administration get away with this attempt to shore up
the TNI, they then intend to move forward with a multi-phased plan to
restore other types of aid.

FBI-trained police

On another bureaucratic track, the US embassy in Jakarta, the CIA and other
agencies are already planning new lethal training for the Polri, including
their notorious Gegana and Brimob special units. The police were an
integral part of the Timor terror. They took the lead in the mass
abductions. And they are at the forefront of the sweeps killing civilians
in Aceh.

A 1999 US Marine Corps intelligence seminar (the Indonesia Joint Cultural
Intelligence Seminar, Wargaming Division, Marine Corps Warfighting
Laboratory. Seminar held January 14, 1999) concluded, “The Indonesian
Police Force is one of the most disliked/hated organizations in the country
-- on a daily basis the Police are the most visible instrument of
government oppression”. It categorised the Polri as being among the “Groups
to Avoid” in Indonesia.

Yet Polri documents indicate that the police have in the recent past
received training from the FBI and other US agencies in topics including
“explosive incident and counter measures”. Now the administration is
privately planning to resume police counter-terrorism training with a
specific eye to what ambassador Gelbard has called Muslim extremists in
Aceh.

Since there is little dispute that Polri kills civilians for political ends
-- and since such use of violence is, of course, the definition of
terrorism -- the Clinton administration is now, in effect, planning to
train terrorists in anti-terrorism. These are lethal skills that up to now
have been applied not to defend civilians but rather to abduct and kill
them if the military and police do not like their views.

[From the East Timor Action Network, 48 Duffield St, Brooklyn, New York,
11201 USA. Phone (718) 596-7668, fax (718) 222-4097, web site:
<http://www.etan.org>.]

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