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U.S. Groups Oppose Training of Indonesia's Notorious Kopassus
Special Forces
 John M Miller
 Jul 23, 2009 10:18 PDT 


<http://www.gopetition.com/online/29600.html>Sign the petition
opposing U.S. assistance or cooperation with Kopassus
http://www.gopetition.com/online/29600.html



U.S. Groups Oppose Training of Indonesia's Notorious Kopassus Special Forces

Contact: John M. Miller, ETAN, +1-718-596-7668

July 23 - More than 50 U.S. organizations today urged the U.S.
government to "strictly prohibit any U.S. cooperation with or
assistance to the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus)' in a letter
sent today to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and
members of Congress. The letter was coordinated by the East Timor and
Indonesia Action Network (ETAN).

"Restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia are needed to
support democracy and human rights in Indonesia. Supporting Kopassus,
which has <http://www.etan.org/news/2008/04brikop.htm>a long history
of terrorizing civilians, would send the worst possible signal to
those fighting for justice and accountability in Indonesia and East
Timor," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN.

The letter, signed by human rights, religious, peace and other
groups, states, "The history of Kopassus human rights violations, its
criminality and its unaccountability before Indonesian courts extends
back decades and includes human rights and other crimes in East
Timor, Aceh, West Papua and elsewhere."

A recent
<http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/06/24/indonesia-abuses-special-forces-continue-papua>Human
Rights Watch report documents how Kopassus soldiers "arrest Papuans
without legal authority, and beat and mistreat those they take back
to their barracks."

In 2008, the Bush administration proposed to restart U.S. training of
Kopassus. the State Department legal counsel reportedly ruled that
the ban on training of military units with a history of involvement
in human rights violations, known as the Leahy law, applies to
Kopassus as a whole.

"The previous administration was forced to conclude that training
Kopassus was both illegal and bad policy. The Obama administration
should maintain this restriction," said Miller.

The text of the letter is below. The letter with a complete list of
signatures can be found at http://www.etan.org/news/2009/07kopassus.htm.

---

Text of Letter

We the undersigned organizations call upon the U.S. government to
strictly prohibit any U.S. cooperation with or assistance to the
Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus). This force, more than any other
in the Indonesian military, stands accused by the Indonesian people
of some of the most egregious human rights violations. The annual
human rights report of the U.S. Department of State, the East Timor's
(Timor-Leste) truth commission (CAVR), United Nations human rights
monitors, and the full range of Indonesian and international human
rights have reported in detail the many crimes of Kopassus. Those
responsible for these violations continue to enjoy broad impunity for
their actions, even in a democratizing Indonesia.

The history of Kopassus human rights violations, its criminality and
its unaccountability before Indonesian courts extends back decades
and includes human rights and other crimes in East Timor, Aceh, West
Papua and elsewhere. In 1998, a program -- organized and led by then
Kopassus commander (and recent vice- presidential candidate) General
Prabowo Subianto -- kidnapped, tortured and killed pro-democracy
activists. Prabowo told reporters he is unrepentant over these crimes
saying, "we could say it was preventative detention." Other
well-documented Kopassus crimes include organizing anti-Chinese
rioting in Jakarta in 1998 and the 1984 massacre at Tanjung Priok in Java.

Throughout 24 years of brutal Indonesian occupation of East Timor,
Kopassus personnel, tortured and killed civilians in an attempt to
intimidate and terrorize the population. Kopassus personnel played a
key role, including organizing militia proxies, in the violence and
destruction during 1999, the occupation's final year.

The crimes of Kopassus are not only in the past. A recently published
Human Rights Watch report details ongoing Kopassus human right
violations in West Papua. The report documents how Kopassus soldiers
"arrest Papuans without legal authority, and beat and mistreat those
they take back to their barracks."

Those who favor engagement argue that U.S. training could lead to
reform of Kopassus. This argument is clearly refuted by history. For
decades, the U.S. trained and gave other assistance to Kopassus
personnel, including General Prabowo and other leading officers. This
relationship had no ameliorative affect, rather, it provided the
equipment and skills used for repression.

U.S. law prohibits the training of military units with a history of
involvement in human rights violations. This provision has been long
been interpreted as narrowly as possible. However, in 2008, the State
Department ruled that the ban, known as the Leahy law, applies to
Kopassus as a whole. We believe that this ruling should apply and the
U.S. must continue to refuse to train Kopassus.

<http://www.gopetition.com/online/29600.html>Sign the petition
opposing U.S. assistance or cooperation with Kopassus
http://www.gopetition.com/online/29600.html



etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan

ETAN welcomes your support. Go to http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm to
donate. Thank you.

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668 Mobile phone: (917)690-4391
Email jo-@etan.org; Mobile phone: (917)690-4391 Skype: john.m.miller

Web site: http://www.etan.org
Twitter: http://twitter.com/etan009
Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/134122?recruiter_id=10193810

Send a blank e-mail message to in-@etan.org to find out
how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet

Winners: John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award for 2009

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