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Indonesian Military Training Ban Under Attack

Training Ban Under Attack

CALL TODAY!

The Pentagon and their congressional allies are making a last-minute attempt to undermine the legislated ban on military training for Indonesia. A ban on IMET (International Military Education and Training) has been in place since 1992.

At the behest of Admiral Dennis C. Blair, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) inserted a provision in the Department of Defense Appropriations bill that provides $21 million to establish a Regional Defense Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program to fund "foreign military officers to attend U.S. military educational institutions and selected regional centers for non-lethal training."

There are no restrictions on which countries can participate. Sen. Inouye and Adm. Blair have both long opposed the training ban on the Indonesian military. This is a blatant attempt to circumvent hard-won restrictions on military training for Indonesia (and other countries with similarly abusive militaries) legislated in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill in response to systematic human rights abuses by the Indonesian military against the people of East Timor and Indonesia.

The Department of Defense Appropriations bill is currently in conference and could come to the floor for a final vote any day now, so CALL TODAY.

What YOU can do:

Call your Senators and Representative. Ask for the defense aide. The congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121, or check http://www.congress.gov on the Internet for fax or e-mail information.

If your representative or senators are members of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, tell them:

As a member of this important subcommittee, s/he should actively oppose the inclusion of Section 8118 in the Defense Appropriations bill HR 3388, which provides $21 million to establish the Regional Defense Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program. Tell them:

*** This is a blatant attempt to circumvent the legislated ban on military training for Indonesia in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. These restrictions were put in place because of the continuing systematic human rights abuses by the Indonesian and other severely abusive militaries. Until the Indonesian military and government comply with the very reasonable conditions put on the restriction of IMET due to their brutal practices in East Timor and Indonesia, the U.S. government should not be funding the training of Indonesian military personnel, either by the U.S. military directly or through other institutions.

If your representative or senators are NOT members of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, ask them to call the chair and ranking members of the Senate and House subcommittee. They are Senators Inyoue and Ted Stevens (R-AK), and Representatives Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and John Murtha (D-PA). Your senators and representative should:

**** Urge the chair and ranking member to remove section 8118 in the Defense Appropriations bill HR 3388, which provides $21 million to establish the Regional Defense Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program. Tell them: this is a blatant attempt to circumvent the legislated ban on military training for Indonesia in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. These restrictions were put in place because of the continuing systematic human rights abuses by the Indonesian and other militaries. Until the Indonesian military and government comply with the very reasonable conditions put on the restriction of IMET due to their brutal practices in East Timor and Indonesia, the U.S. government should not be funding the training of Indonesian military personnel, either by the U.S. military directly or through other institutions.

If you have time to make even more calls, contact the offices of Inouye, Stevens, Lewis, and Murtha directly to express your opposition to section 8118.

Members of Defense Appropriations Subcommittees Senate: Democrats Inouye (chair), Ernest Hollings (SC), Robert Byrd (WV), Patrick Leahy (VT), Tom Harkin (IA), Bryon Dorgan (ND), Richard Durbin (IL), Harry Reid (NV), Diane Feinstein (CA)

Republicans Stevens (ranking member), Thad Cochran (MS), Arlen Specter (PA), Pete Domenici (NM), Christopher Bond (MO), Mitch McConnell (KY), Richard Shelby (AL), Judd Gregg (NH), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)

House: Republicans Lewis (chair), C.W. Young (FL), Joe Skeen (NM), David Hobson (OH), Henry Bonilla (TX), George Nethercutt (WA), Ernest Istook (OK), Randy Cunningham (CA), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ)

Democrats Murtha (ranking member), Norman Dicks (WA), Martin Olav Sabo (MN), Peter Visclosky (IN), James Moran (VA)

Please let us know the results of your phone calls. For more information, contact Karen Orenstein at ETAN's Washington office, karen@etan.org, 202-544-6911, or consult the ETAN website, www.etan.org.

Background

The Department of Defense Appropriations bill is currently in conference and could come to the floor for a final vote any day now, so expeditious action is necessary. Unlike IMET programs, the Pentagon is entirely in charge of the Regional Defense Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program. This raises the possibility of circumvention of the "Leahy Law," provisions in the Foreign Operations and Defense Department Appropriations bills prohibiting U.S. military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity. The Leahy Law provides for minimum safeguards to check for past human rights abuses committed by potential participants in U.S.-sponsored military programs through a process of vetting by the State Department.

The Pentagon's move to circumvent the congressional ban on IMET is remarkably similar to their Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program, which was suspended in spring 1998 following congressional and grassroots outrage because it circumvented clear Congressional intent to ban military training for Indonesia. Under the rubric of JCET, U.S. soldiers trained Indonesian special forces in a variety of terror tactics.

This alert can be found at http://www.etan.org/action/17alert.htm.

John M. Miller

Internet: john@etan.org

Media & Outreach Coordinator, East Timor Action Network

48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA

Phone: (718)596-7668
Fax: (718)222-4097

Mobile phone: (917)690-4391

Web site: http://www.etan.org