House opposes Bush plan to aid Indonesia army; East Timor Network demands US "direct action"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Fri Jul 25 22:48:15 MDT 2003

US military aid to Indonesia should be opposed, because it strengthens
imperialism's hand in the archipelago, and because it strengthens the
hand of reaction not only against the super-oppressed peoples, but
against the oppressed country of Indonesia as a whole.  But I still
see little value for working people in today's political context,
after Iraq and Yugoslavia and other examples, in human rights
campaigning that centers on demands on the imperialists to take
punitive action against reactionary or antipopular regimes in colonial
countries.  I also suspect that this vote is a signal that US
imperialism's confidence in and reliance on the current Indonesian
government and army is less unstinting than many assume, and that
serious forces in Washington are weighing the possibility of exerting
more direct pressure on the situation.

Of course, this is also an indication of the greater activity and
confidence of the liberals in congress as the Bush administration
loses altitude as the  victory in the second Iraq war is followed by
the opening of what could become the third Iraq war.

The strengthened position, at least for now, of the liberals in
capitalist politics is also indicated by the shift of Supreme Court
justices Sandra Day O'connor and Anthony Kennedy toward the liberal
camp on that body.
Fred Feldman

For Immediate Release

Contact: John M. Miller, ETAN, 718-596-7668

Kurt Biddle, IHRN, 510-559-7762

For Immediate Release

East Timor Action Network

U.S. House of Representatives Reiterates "No IMET for

July 24 - For the second time in a week, the U.S. House
of Representatives voted to bar Indonesia from
receiving military training via the prestigious IMET

Late last night, the House voted to strip a $600,000
appropriation for International Military Education and
Training (IMET) for fiscal year (FY) 2004. The
amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill
comes as the Bush administration has indicated its
intention to use a controversial FY03 $400,000
appropriation for IMET for Indonesia. Bush
administration has indicated its intention to use a
controversial FY03 $400,000 appropriation for IMET for

"The administration should not defy Congressional
intent to bar the Indonesian military from IMET," said
Kurt Biddle of the Indonesia Human Rights Network

"Instead of considering assistance for the Indonesian
military, the administration should take concrete
action against the Indonesian military for its massive
human rights violations in Aceh ­ including the use of
U.S.-supplied weapons, its widespread impunity for
crimes against humanity in East Timor, and its general
trampling on the rights of Indonesian, East Timorese,
and U.S. citizens," said Karen Orenstein of the East
Timor Action Network (ETAN).

On July 16, the House passed an amendment to the
Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY04-05 (H.R.
1950) barring Indonesia from receiving IMET until the
President certifies that Indonesia is "taking effective
measures" to fully investigate and criminally prosecute
those responsible for the August 31, 2002 attack on in
Timika, Papua near the mining operations area of the
Louisiana-headquartered Freeport-McMoRan. The ambush
killed three school teachers -- Rick Spier from
Colorado, Tom Burgon of Oregon and an Indonesian,
Bambang Riwanto -- and injured 11 others, including a
six-year child. Indonesian police and NGO
investigations have strongly implicated the Indonesian
military (TNI) in the attack.

Representative Joel Hefley (R-CO) sponsored both
amendments. Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY), Dennis
Kucinich (D-OH), and Greg Walden (R-OR) spoke in favor
of yesterday’s amendment.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed its own
ban on IMET for Indonesia for FY04 last May. Senate
Foreign Relations Committee passed its own ban

Legislative rules limited last night’s amendment to a
$600,000 reduction of the entire FY04 IMET
appropriation. However, the legislative history
established during debate makes clear the provision’s
intent to cut all funding for IMET for Indonesia for

The appropriations bill also continues a ban on U.S.
government financed sales of military equipment to
Indonesia under the Foreign Military Financing Program.

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.

IHRN is a U.S.-based grassroots organization working to
educate and activate the American public and influence
U.S. foreign policy and international economic
interests to support democracy, demilitarization, and
justice through accountability and rule of law in
Indonesia. IHRN works with and advocates on behalf of
people throughout the Indonesian archipelago to
strengthen civil society. (

John M. Miller         Internet: john at

Media & Outreach Coordinator East Timor Action Network:
12 Years for Self-Determination & Justice

48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA Phone: (718)
596-7668      Fax: (718)222-4097 Mobile phone: (917)
690-4391 Web site:

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