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Washington Backing Indonesian State Terror

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Washington Backing Indonesian State Terror - by Stephen Lendman

An earlier article said it was expected, accessed through the following link:

click here

It discussed Indonesia's National Armed Forces (TNI), especially its thuggish Kopassus Special Forces Command, its red beret unit responsible for political killings, torture, rape, and massacres of hundreds of thousands of civilians in East Timor, Aceh, Papua, and elsewhere in the country.

TNI aid was restricted following a November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz cemetery massacre of over 270 demonstrators in Dili, East Timor. In July, it was restored, a July 22 East Timor Action Network (ETAN) press release "condemn(ing) the Obama administration's decision to resume engagement with Indonesia's notorious Kopassus special forces," ETAN's National Coordinator, John Miller, saying:

"Slipping back into bed with Kopassas is a betrayal of the brutal unit's many victims in Timor-Leste (East Timor), West Papua and throughout Indonesia. It will lead to more people (suffering) abuses. Working with Kopassus which remains unrepentant about its long history of terrorizing civilians, will undermine efforts to achieve justice and accountability for human rights in Indonesia and Timor-Leste."

"For years, the US military provided training and other assistance to (TNI and its infamous) Kopassus, and when the US was most involved, Kopassus crimes were at their worst. While this assistance improved (TNI's) deadly skills, it did nothing to improve its behavior."

Yet Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Washington "will begin a gradual, limited program of security cooperation activities," a veiled assurance of business as usual. It's no surprise as CIA armies, US Special Forces, and other military units replicate the worst of Kopassus manyfold.

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Kopassus terrorizes Indonesia. America does it globally, a record no other country approaches.

A Snapshot of Kopassus Terror

Since formed in 1952, its record includes kidnappings, rape, torture, targeted killings, sweeping violence, mass murder, and other atrocities against anyone supporting independence or challenging state authority. A June 2009 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report reviewed Kopassus abuses titled, "What Did I Do Wrong? It discussed "frequent brutality against ordinary Papuans," including:

-- ordinary people arrested without legal authority;

-- in Kopassus barracks, they were beaten and otherwise mistreated, one former detainee saying:

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"They stripped us down to just our underwear. They immediately beat us, without saying anything. They used a water hose. They beat us till we bled and had cuts....They kicked me in the chest with their boots, an officer shout(ing) 'You Papuans, one single Kopassus soldier can kill you like chickens.' "

Similar abuses are replicated across Indonesia, including in Jakarta, the capital, Kopassus operating with impunity. One detainee was savagely beaten after asking "What did I do wrong?" Another said he was kicked and beaten all night until morning. He asked the same question. So did others. HRW presented case studies of extreme abuse and mistreatment, against "rebels, "separatists," and "ordinary members of the population," some seized randomly. Others in detention never returned.

A November West Papua Report provides video evidence of Kopassus torturing Papuan civilians. In response, the Yudhoyono government said security forces will investigate themselves. Washington downplayed the evidence. ETAN explained that within days of the video's release, "a massive cyber attack took down many of the international NGO websites" that posted the footage. Clearly, a government agency was responsible.

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