US restores military support to Indonesia's military dictatorship


3-11-05, 8:23 am

From The Guardian

The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) has condemned the recent announcement by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the Bush Administration is to restore full International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Indonesia. ETAN insists that the policy shift on the part of the US has nothing to do with any improvements in the behaviour of the TNI: 'Given this lack of progress, the State Department's certification of cooperation is false and misleading. It has far more to do with fulfilling the administration's long-term goal of re-engagement with the Indonesian military, than bringing to justice all those responsible for the ambush or encouraging democratic reforms', Mr Miller said.

The US's claim that progress has been made in recent years is contradicted by some highly-placed Indonesian spokespersons. Indonesia's minister of defence, Juwono Sudarsono, recently told the New York Times that the military 'retains the real levers of power' and 'from the political point of view, the military remains the fulcrum of Indonesia'.

Jakarta's ambassador to London wrote last June that 'Six years of civilian-based party politics has not resulted in any measurable degree of effective 'civilian supremacy', much less 'civilian control'.'

ETAN sees the influence of Paul Wolfowitz, US Deputy Secretary of Defence and former ambassador to Indonesia, in the latest decision to re-engage the Indonesian military. He maintains that Indonesia has entered a 'new era'. He once told Congress that 'Any balanced judgement' of the country's human rights situation under then-President and dictator Suharto, 'needs to take account of the significant progress that Indonesia has already made' due to Suharto's 'strong and remarkable leadership.'

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