JUAN GONZALEZ: We end today’s show looking at US-Indonesian relations.
The White House is moving towards increasing aid to the Indonesian
armed forces and lifting a twelve-year ban on the training of the
notorious Indonesian military unit known as Kopassus. The special
forces unit has been linked to scores of human rights abuses in East
Timor, Aceh, Papua and Java since its formation in the 1950s.
On Monday, Jeffrey Bader of the National Security Council acknowledged
Kopassus had committed human rights violations in the past, but he
said the Obama administration, quote, “hopes to be able, at some
point, to move past and resolve those concerns.”
…Well, yesterday I reached investigative journalist and activist Allan
Nairn about his new investigation into assassinations by US-trained
Indonesian army and Kopassus officers. I reached him in Southeast
ALLAN NAIRN: President Obama wants to restore military aid to
the Indonesian armed forces, including Kopassus, the Red Berets. 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.
They targeted activists for the Aceh—the Partai Aceh, which is
pro-independence. In one case, the case of a man named Tumijan, he was
abducted, tortured to death. His body was dumped in a sewage ditch
near an army post. In another, a man was sitting in his car outside
his house. An assassin walked up, put two bullets in his head through
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.
AMY GOODMAN: How do you know this, Allan?
ALLAN NAIRN: From people inside the Indonesian government, who
gave the names of some of the killers and the officers they work for.
And just a few hours ago, I spoke on the phone with General Aditya,
who is the head of the police in Aceh, and he confirmed that his
forces had in fact detained some of the assassins who were working for
the army. They’d been holding them for months, but they never
announced this, because they were afraid to do it. The police are
afraid of the army. But when I asked him about it directly, he
admitted it publicly for the first time. The Indonesian police have confirmed this. They know about it, but they’re afraid to act. The Indonesian army and Kopassus are running a program of killing
civilians, and it’s active right now. And Obama wants to give them new US weapons, training and money.
AMY GOODMAN: Why does President Obama want to give them this
money? I think we’re hearing a lot about the war on terror.
ALLAN NAIRN: Well, first the White House makes the argument that
the atrocities are a thing of the past. The Indonesian military has
killed hundreds of thousands, perhaps close to a million, civilians.
But the White House argues, well, that’s in the past. But as I’ve just
described, that’s a lie, that’s not true. Secondly, the White House
claims that they want to use the Indonesian army to fight Islamist
terror groups in Indonesia. They want to use them and a special
anti-terrorist unit called Densus 88.
Densus 88 is a police SWAT-style task force that was originally
created by US intelligence under the initiative of Cofer Black,
formerly of the CIA, now with Blackwater. Two nights ago, I met with
the Densus people, who described how were they—were trained in Jakarta
and elsewhere by a CIA personnel in tactics including surveillance,
how to pursue and snatch people, and interrogation.
AMY GOODMAN: Allan Nairn, talk about the significance of
President Obama postponing his trip to Indonesia until June.
ALLAN NAIRN: I think it is still possible that the deal they
were making with the Indonesian army may still go forward, because for
the past few days, other top US officials, including Kurt Campbell,
the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, have been in
Indonesia. US generals have been in Indonesia. In fact, Kopassus general—Kopassus generals even went to Washington and were welcomed by the Obama people with open arms. They were working out the details of this new pact. And it is possible that even though Obama himself won’t visit, they will still try to push this deal through. So that means specifically that they may go ahead with their already announced plans to circumvent the US congressional Leahy amendment, which bans training for units involved in atrocities, and boost their training for Kopassus.
…..So I think that deal perhaps could be stopped, and people
should contact Congress and the White House, demand that the US cut
off all military aid to Indonesia. And they can to go to the East Timor Action website and get details about the Kopassus aspect of the