the Indonesian terrorists new weapons training and money.
Goodman writes that while Obama's health care bill is considered progress, he is "simultaneously, and with far less scrutiny, potentially taking a huge step backward with Indonesia," referring to Indonesia's role of the US-backed Indonesian military murders of political activists in Aceh leading up to elections.
"This is happening while the White House is engaged in fierce behind-the-scenes negotiations with Congress on whether to restore aid to the Indonesian military, including one of its most notorious elements, the special-forces command known as Kopassus. Military aid to Indonesia was suspended in 1999 after its military, the TNI, unleashed a campaign of terror on the people of East Timor. In 2005, the Bush administration partially restored military aid, but conspicuously denied aid and training to the Kopassus, thanks largely to the efforts of grass-roots activists and the intervention of Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Nairn, reporting from Indonesia, broke the story this past week on “Democracy Now!" and on his blog, allannairn.com.
Goodman writes today on Truthdig with conrtibuting researcher, Denis Moynihan, that Nairn "reported that the TNI 'assassinated a series of civilian activists during 2009 ... as part of a secret government program, authorized from Jakarta, coordinated in part by an active-duty, U.S.-trained Kopassus special-forces general who has just acknowledged on the record that his TNI men had a role in the killings.'
"Aceh is a resource-rich province at the western tip of Indonesia. After the devastation Aceh suffered in the tsunami of 2004, the government reached a political settlement with the Free Aceh Movement. The elections in 2009 were a result of that. Nairn details two of the eight assassinations of members of the pro-independence Partai Aceh, citing numerous sources, most of whom, fearing for their safety, remain unname," explains Goodman.
"Allan and I are no strangers to the Indonesian military. In 1991, we survived a massacre in East Timor. East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, with the full support of President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In the next quarter-century, the Indonesian military killed more than 200,000 Timorese, a third of the population. Allan and I went there to report on the situation and ended up covering a march to a cemetery in Timor’s capital city, Dili. As the mass of unarmed civilians was hemmed in by the cemetery walls, Indonesian soldiers marched in formation, their U.S.-supplied M-16s at the ready, and without warning, without provocation, opened fire on the crowd. Allan and I were beaten to the ground. Swinging their M-16s like baseball bats, the soldiers fractured Allan’s skull. We survived, but more than 270 Timorese were killed that day. We managed to escape, and to report on the massacre. While I was denied entry in 1999, Allan sneaked in to Timor and reported on the TNI atrocities there, as they burned much of East Timor to the ground. They arrested Allan, but he continued reporting from prison, giving new meaning to “cell phone.”
Since Allan's report this week on the US-backed TNI assassinations, Goodman writes that the "Indonesian press has been buzzing with the allegations. Air Vice Marshal Sagom Tamboen, a spokesman for the TNI, told the Jakarta Globe that the military is considering legal action against Nairn. Nairn told me, 'I welcome this threat from TNI, a force which has murdered many hundreds of thousands, and challenge them to arrest me so that we can face off in open court.'"
Human Rights Watch have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Goodman reports, "outlining serious concerns about possible re-engagement with Kopassus. ETAN, the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network, launched a petition campaign atetan.org to block the funding."
Goodman says that while Americans are "now chattering and twittering about the health care bill’s passage, they should be focusing on one of the most serious threats to human rights he is on the verge of committing Americans to, his "plans for Indonesia, and the possibility that he may restore funding and training for one of the world’s most notorious, human-rights-abusing military forces, the Indonesian Kopassus."
President Obama could change his mind about supporting the Indonesia terrorist atrocities if a sufficient number of Americans take Jim Hightower's advice and "go against the flow" by taking a stand and saying "No!" to the President. According to his interview with Goddman, Nairn believes in this possibility.
This is one outrage in which Republicans, Democrats, Greens and others could agree and together prevent from escalating.
Learn more by doing: Write Letters to Editoron President Obama's Visit to Indonesia. Visit the East Timor and Indonesia website at etan.orgListen to Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now!” daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 800 stations in North America. She is author of“Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.