Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Allan Nairn to Indonesian miltiary - bring it on

UPDATE: Allan Nairn on Wednesday's Democracy Now! Journalist Allan Nairn Facing Possible Arrest in Indonesia for Exposing US-Backed Forces Assassinated Civilians

Allan Nairn challenges Indonesian military to follow up military threats to prosecute him for his report on Kopassus killings in Aceh. He wrote on his blog:
In response to my report revealing their assassinations of political activists (see posting of March 21, 2010), the US-backed Indonesian armed forces (TNI) are threatening to have me arrested, presumably on criminal defamation charges. (See Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Nurdin Hasan , Jakarta Globe, "Indonesian Military Threatens Legal Action Over Aceh Party Killings Claims.")...

I will be glad to stand in court before the Indonesian public and detail TNI's role in numerous tortures, disappearances, massacres and assassinations.

I would welcome the opportunity to enter a formal, public legal proceeding which would afford the opportunity to question TNI Generals under oath.

If given such a chance I would also attempt to call US personnel as witnesses, and question US military, CIA, State Department, and White House officials about their support for TNI. I would ask these Americans why they have given weapons, training and money to TNI, even as they have seen that force repeatedly kill civilians.
Criminal defamation laws have often been used in an attempt to silence criticism of Indonesian officials. A recent example is the filing of defamation charges against Usman Hamid of KontraS in September 2009 on a complaint by retired general Muchdi Purwopranjono, accused in the murder of human rights lawyer Munir.

Under Indonesia's criminal code, conviction for defamation of a public official carries a maximum sentence of 5 years and fines. Various other laws incorporate defamation. The Law on Information and Electronic Transactions, passed in 2008, calls for a penalty up to 6 years and a fine up to one billion rupiah. In Indonesia, those of accused of crimes with penalties longer then 5 years are denied bail.

ETAN to President Ramos-Horta on justice, accountability & international tribuanl

ETAN has written to President Ramos-Horta in response to his recent remarks on justice and accountability for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999), and his attack on Amnesty International. It begins:
"We are writing to express our sadness and deep dismay on reading your speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 11, 2010. In your address, you refer to having been "unfairly criticized by some fringe elements in this amorphous international community” for decisions made by you and the Government of Timor-Leste concerning justice and accountability.

"While you did not mention Amnesty International by name, the target of your anger was clear as it directly followed a public dispute with them regarding your stance on an international tribunal. It is ironic that one whose heart is as forgiving as yours would issue such a strong attack on another Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Amnesty International has stood strongly for peace, and collaborated closely with you throughout the Indonesian occupation during the long campaign for human rights in Timor-Leste. To refer to them as “fringe” and accuse them of “regurgitating ready-made clich├ęs or academic jargon on justice” is both disrespectful and engages in the same rhetorical excess you decry."
Read the full letter here.

The Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI - Aliansi Nasional Timor Leste Ba Tribunal Internasional) delivered their own letter the other day.
As citizens of this country, our feeling and desire for justice for serious crimes is not enough when our leaders become spokesmen to express views which don’t follow what we feel and work for. Our thirst for this justice draws its legitimate power from Article 160 of the Constitution of RDTL, that “…crimes against humanity of genocide or of war shall be liable to criminal proceedings with the national or international courts.” Therefore, we are sad and strongly lament when a leader of Timor-Leste makes a statement that the Timorese people don’t need an international tribunal for crimes against humanity and show ignorance of the fundamental principles of our democratic constitution which expresses the wishes of the common Timorese people.
Candles are lit at the Indonesian Embassy in Dili on September 6, 2009, the anniversary of the Suai Church massacre, where Maternus Bere was thought to be residing. Ramos-Horta told the Human Rights Commission that no Timorese had lit candles in protest of Bere's release. Photo by La'o Hamutuk.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Allan Nairn on Obama and Kopassus Training

UPDATE: Nairn's article with more details is now online at his blog.

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Allan Nairn appeared on Democracy Now! on Friday to discuss President Obama's again postponed visit to Indonesia and discussions within the Obama administration about whether (how?) to once again train Indonesia's notorious special forces Kopassus.

Some in the Obama administration (and the Indonesian military) argue that rights violations are in the past. Nairn's  key revelation is that Kopassus were involved in the murder of activist in Aceh in 2009:
I’ve just come out with a piece that shows that the Indonesian army and Kopassus have been involved in a series of recent assassinations of civilian political activists. The piece names the names of the officers involved, including a Kopassus general named Sunarko. These assassinations were carried out in the region of Aceh in late 2009.
The activists were from the Partai Aceh.
According to a senior Indonesian official with detailed information on these murders, they’re part of a program of political murder being carried out by TNI, the Indonesian armed forces, and Kopassus and by military intelligence. And so, these killings are still going on today. And Obama is about to give them new aid on the pretense that the Indonesian army has reformed and has stopped killing civilians, which is false.
Read the transcript, listen to the audio or watch the full interview here. Or watch below:

Part 1:



Part 2: